Before and during the Chicago convention, the Newspaper & Online News Division’s email list had a spirited discussion inspired by Howard Finbeg of Poynter in response to an “open letter to university presidents” from executives of several foundations.
The foundations endorsed a “teaching hospital” model of journalism education and cautioned university administrators, “Schools that do not update their curriculum and upgrade their faculties to reflect the profoundly different digital age of communication will find it difficult to raise money from foundations interested in the future of news.”
Here are some key links for the discussion:
- Open Letter to University Presidents
- Knight Foundation blog by Eric Newton
- Finberg’s article about it at Poynter
- August discussion email list archive, with contributions from Howard Finberg, Dane Claussen, Bill Reader, Carrie Brown, John Russial, John Zibluk, Bob Stepno, Ann Brill, Chris Roberts, Andrew Ciofalo, Gary Kebbel, Brian Baresch, Skye Dent, Kathleen Hansen, Howard Schlossbert, Michael Abrams, Larry Dailey, Robert Picard, Maureen Croteau, Daryl Moen, and perhaps more by now.
The original foundation letter signers, and their organizations:
- Eric Newton, senior adviser, Knight Foundation
- Clark Bell, journalism program director, McCormick Foundation
- Bob Ross, president and CEO, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation
- Mike Philipps, president and CEO, Scripps Howard Foundation
- Linda Shoemaker, president, Brett Family Foundation
- Davis Haas, chair, Wyncote Foundation
“Embracing the Future,” by Paul Steinle & Sara Brown has been posted on the American Journalism Review website, and it appears in the spring, 2012 edition, of AJR.
The article highlights the findings of their 50-state, 50-newspaper inquiry into the status the American newspaper industry, Steinle said.
Brown, Steinle and two industry speakers also presented their work at the 2011 AEJMC conference. The presentation can be viewed online at Who Needs Newspapers?
The full results of the 50-state report are posted at
“We invite you to visit this site and use any materials that are posted there in your classroom,” Steinle said, in an email to AEJMC Newspaper & Online News Division members. “Dr. Brown and I have also commented on our findings in several classrooms across the USA via Skype interviews, and we would be willing to continue to do that practice if any of you would find it useful.”
The Guardian enlisted The Three Little Pigs on Feb. 29 as part of an “open journalism” advertising campaign for its social-network-connected news products.
Online, the video ad is accompanied by Editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger‘s notes on the thinking behind what the Guardian calls its digitally empowered approach to active-audience journalism, also highlighted in a March 24-25 “open weekend.”
The paper said the two-minute spot “imagines how we might cover the story of the Three Little Pigs in print and online. Follow the story from the paper’s front page headline, through a social media discussion and finally to an unexpected conclusion.”
Note: I aggregate other video newspaper promotions and commentaries at my Other Journalism Video Pages.
Employees at both MediaNews Group and the Journal Register Company are being invited into an ideaLab — a group of company employees promised “the latest tools and… the time and money to experiment with them.”
“Each member of the ideaLab will be equipped, initially, with a Smartphone, tablet and laptop,” CEO John Paton said in his blog, announcing the addition of 25 MediaNews employees to the original Journal Register ideaLab project, begun last year. He added:
“The Company will carve out 10 hours a week from their regular jobs to allow them time to experiment with these tools and report back on how we can change our business for the better. And we will add an extra $500 per month to their pay. Other than that – there are no rules.”
Following his own “digital first” philosophy, Paton invited employees to apply for ideaLab membership by posting responses on his blog or sending him an email message answering the question, “In about 200 words or less, what would you do with the tools and time to improve our business?”
Discussions and links:
“Convoluted” is the key word in this graphic portrayal of the life of a news story today, thanks to our new post-blog, mid-Twitter, online universe:
Lauren Michell Rabaino of The Seattle Times raises fascinating issues in that illustrated article at MediaBistro’s “10,000 words” blog, opening with the observation that, “News must be really hard to follow for an everyday consumer of a newspaper website.”
As an online producer for the Seattle paper, as well as blogger at laurenmichell.com and an active Twitter user as @laurenmichell, she gives examples from the BBC and Los Angeles Times sites, as well as her own publication. She reports on a recent critique of “episodic” news reporting and throws the idea of more wiki-like publications into the mix, along with a discussion of how to implement updates in content management systems.
Rabaino’s item also suggests there is plenty of room for descriptive and comparative research by AEJMC Newspaper & Online News Division members. After reading her piece, I just kept coming up with more questions… Read more
What can journalism learn from programming? The Nieman Lab has a fascinating, philosophical piece by “news hacker” and New York Times programmer Jacob Harris that seems to address just that. One notion Harris limns quite forcefully is the idea of technology-based cure-alls for journalism’s ills:
Every few weeks, the new media hype cycle begins again. Some new tool or website comes out that makes some technically difficult aspect of news-gathering or production much simpler, and then that old question — Will it save journalism?— gets asked again, analyzed for a few days, and kicked to the curb under ridicule from obnoxious snarkmongers like myself.
One lesson I draw: as so many smart journalism educators have stressed in recent years, we and our students both need to learn to code – at least a bit.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has awarded $4.1 million in grant funds to expand a digital news-gathering network which, up to now, has remained somewhat under the radar. No longer.
Operated by American Public Media, the Public Insight Network, or PIN, “brings together a network of 120,000 citizen sources from a variety of disciplines, who agree to share their expertise, insights and first-hand knowledge, with experienced journalists from 45 newsrooms.” The huge influx of funding, if invested effectively, could raise PIN’s profile profoundly.
Described as “a cross between a fancy Rolodex and a crowdsourcing machine,” PIN has mainly been associated with public radio. But as public radio goes more multimedia, distinctions between broadcast and print continue to blur.
Since PIN’s citizen journalists are self-nominating, one challenge may be keeping the ranks of PIN’s sources balanced in their outlooks and agendas. (Those of us who have worked in journalism know all too well about how certain sources sometimes come forward a little too easily.)
I missed this thought-provoking commentary when it appeared two weeks ago, but it represents one of several recent voices from newspaper and online journalism leaders wondering if anonymous online reader comments truly foster — or harm — public civic discourse.
As editorial page editor of the always-innovative Sacramento Bee, Stuart Leavenworth‘s measured opinion may resonate, too. He’s mostly concerned with comments directed at legitimate named letter writers whose letters appear online in the Bee:
I can understand the argument for anonymous online comments. It creates an outlet for expression for, say, state workers who might want to comment on state policy without fear of retribution from bosses. It is a fixture of the modern online world. Internet users have come to expect it.
Yet should The Bee subject letter writers to personal attacks and comments from people who won’t put their names behind their opinions?
Editor Margaret Sullivan of the Buffalo News wrote about this more broadly last summer, in a spirited defense of a policy change at the News (“Identifying commenters improved the conversation”).
The AEJMC’s own Newspaper Research Journal published an interesting article on anonymous user comments last spring, but it seems clear that, in general, too little research exists on the ethics and sociology of anonymous reader comments.
Nonetheless, the veil of anonymity many online newspaper readers use when they comment on articles is getting more and more attention.
The big news last month on this front was Politico.com’s important decision to make commenters on its blogs use their Facebook accounts if they wanted to post. I think it’s a good thing, personally. From my observation, the change led to an instant rise in the level of civility. I was also shocked by how many of the commenters on the site turned out to be not just “Average Joe” readers, but well-connected and politically plugged-in partisans.
What do you think?
Updated later in the week without changing the date-stamp above. Do add additional Twitter links in the comments area if I left out your best Tweets, and feel free to add all of the @-marked division members to your own “follow” list — for example, I’m http://twitter.com/bobstep
Alas, your mild-mannered Web editor is staying in Virginia the week of the St. Louis conference.
Would anyone using Twitter from the soon-to-be Newspaper and Online News division please use the official hashtag #aejmc11 to report on this week’s doings — especially to spread the word about division plans for the future. Just click that #aejmc11 hashtag marker to see what people have been saying about the convention, even if you don’t have a Twitter account of your own.
Please do either add some comments to this blog post or e-mail me information to share with other homebound division members. And if anyone wants to use this space to live-blog panels or meetings, ask a division officer on site and/or contact me.
Meanwhile, I’ll add some tidbits from the tweets here:
- Due to Twitter’s length limitation, @Steve Fox tweeted the address of his Slideshare “Panel on Partnerships” presentation without its full title, which clearly makes it appropriate for this division: Challenges to the City-Based Newspaper Business: Opportunities for Journalism and Mass Communication Programs. Also some nice symmetry, if you glance down to the last/first tweet on this list.
- @garykebbel: “Knight Foundation is funding a contest for educators to use Knight News Challenge innovations. #aejmc11 #knightfdn” (Until someone offers a more specific link, try KnightFoundation.org Innovating Media page, or KCNN.org or the KCNN’s Things We Like page.)
- Mark Coddington: Just saw the presentation on this study at #aejmc11. Very smart tweak to previous research. slate.me/r3NN7U” (Slate article referring to Brendan R. Watson: “Article on my research at #aejmc11 RT @jackshafer: New @Slate: “Bloggers, Not Parasites” http://slate.me/pkMVAm)”
Andy Bechtel: “Newspaper Division of @aejmc and ACES are teaming up for an award for research about editing. Details, paper call coming this fall.”
- @BillCelis: Compelling convo abt Latino newspapers and impact on past and present by @USCAnnenberg Prof Felix Gutierrez #aejmc11 #ascj
- Hard to tell from the retweets who on what panel actually said, “Be weekly in print and daily online,” and whether they were talking about changing daily newspapers, weeklies or magazines… but the line developed tweet-legs around the time my tired eyes had me “weakly online.”
- Also hard to tell whether this is LJ Thornton commenting on or quoting from Merrill Perlman’s presentation: “ljthornton: Any journalism school that doesn’t teach students to self-edit shouldn’t call itself a j-school/@meperl” (Good thought, in either case.)
- @andybechtel shared addresses of additional editing champs on Twitter: ACES president Teresa Schmedding is @tschmedding; Merrill Perlman is @meperl; Joy Mayer is @mayerjoy
- Two tweets from @steveklein after discussion of journalism faculty not being on Twitter: “There is a real lack of intellectual curiosity when it comes to technology and changing communication platforms in academia…. Very sorry to say it, but I see far too many similarities in the journalism industry and academia. It’s scary, really.”
- ralphehanson Ralph Hanson tweets on community newspapers, apparently from panel on online initiatives at community papers:
- “Use website to publish public meeting minutes. Use newspaper to publish stories.”
- “Look at houstonherald.com for successful online community paper site.”
- “Be a weekly in print, a daily online.”
- “Big online issue for community papers: Should obits be behind pay wall?”
- “Community paper editors should be sure to present news about safety/disasters to everyone, not just subscribers.”
- Thanks @JoMCParkLib Stephanie Willen Brown for link to Penny Abernathy’s newspaper-related biz model / community journalism material — second section here: http://ow.ly/1vCSDr
- Twitter can be quite an echo-chamber for gasp-prompting sensational statements like the one below… without room for clear sources in its character-count limited space. So thanks to LJThorntion for mentioning that grading stats being tossed around are at GradeInflation.com by Stuart Rojstaczer
- Ditto Dale Cressman for telling us:
“Slides from the #aejmc11 panel on grade inflation are here: http://bit.ly/oZTwQH”
- @jbatsell: Gasps in the room as speaker’s research shows that 43 percent of all college grades are now A’s. #aejmc11
- @journtoolbox Journalist’s Toolbox
Nice tool for the #aejmc11 crew: http://newspapermap.com/ #newspapers #journalism
- A Matter of Life and Death? Examining the Quality of Newspaper Coverage on the Newspaper Crisis tweeted by Seth C. Lewis
- @genevaoh Geneva Overholser:
“Educational institutions are ripe for disintermediation, says #aejmc11 keynoter. I couldn’t agree more, having lived thru it in journalism”
- Transformation of leading journalism schools detailed in a new report released today. knightfoundation.org/blogs/knightbl… #CKJED #AEJMC tweeted by Eric Newton (@EricNewton1) of Knight Foundation
- Blogging about journalism history — why and why bother? tweeted by Joe Campbell, with yet another Twitter hashtag of #aejmcblogging
- “D’oh! “@stretchphoto: #aejmc11 “Holy 20th Century, Batman. There’s no wifi in the hotel rooms!”" Retweeted by Andy Bechtel
- “Valuable intel RT @Brizzyc: Learned that Budweiser is $5 at conference hotel (Renaissance). In ST. LOUIS. Bud. Good grief. #AEJMC” Retweeted by Steve Fox (but without the convention-specific hashtag)
The last two items may explain a lot… (Our WordPress software turns the : – ) characters into automatically, by the way.)
– Bob aka @bobstep on Twitter
March update on The New York Times progress on its plans to try to extract some income from online readers, originally planned for a January launch, eventually rescheduled to March 28.
The bottom line: The home delivery price still includes access to all digital versions. For the rest of us, NYTimes.com offers 20 free articles each calendar month as well as the Top News, home page, section fronts, blog fronts and classifieds. After that, the Times will want $15 every four weeks for unlimited access via Web and smartphone, $20 for tablets. (There’s promise of a “special introductory offer” on March 28, and some fine print about crosswords and e-reader editions.)
- Newsonomics of The New York Times Pay Fence — Ken Doctor, author of Newsonomics, comments at Nieman Lab on the Times good timing: bringing its pay model online during the successful launch of the iPad2 “and a growing sense of the Times’ outsized importance as media chaos multiplies.”
- The Times Announces Digital Subscription Plan — (Jeremy W. Peters, NYT Business Day / Media & Advertising) — The New York Times introduced a plan on Thursday to begin charging the most frequent users of its Web site $15 for a four-week subscription in a bet that readers will pay for news they are accustomed to getting free. (March 17, 2011)
- Times Letter to Readers — About digital subscriptions. (March 17, 2011)
- The Times’s Online Pay Model Was Years in the Makng — (Jeremy W. Peters, NYT Business Day / Media & Advertising) — The New York Times’s online pay model, which takes effect on March 28, may be the most watched experiment in American journalism. (March 21, 2011)
- Paying for The Times at SXSW — (NYT Mediadecoder Blog) The New York Times, my employer, had just announced that it was about to implement a metered model, charging its most frequent visitors… March 20, 2011)
- Business News You Didn’t Read Here — NYT Public Editor Arthur Brisbane on other media outlets’ coverage of the Times plans to introduce a pay model for some of its online news. (March 5, 2011)