A spirited discussion of academic research and its relevance to professional journalism poured into the in-boxes of division members on the weekend of June 23 via the Newspaper & Online News Division mailing list. By Monday close to 50 members had been heard from and comments were still being added. And it kept going…
Update July 2:
The mailing list discussion prompted this July 2 summary and response by AEJMC President Linda Steiner, of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Among other things, she points to the Research You Can Use webpage highlighting studies from AEJMC journals.
Update: The discussion kept going… Downloaded from the list archive, the June mail (admittedly inflated by the quoted responses) is a 1.1 MB text file, double the size of the last major use of the mailing list, a July 2008 discussion of renaming the division to add “and Online” to the name.
For the terminally text-oriented, that’s almost 600 pages of 10-pt Courier, including all the mail headers and repeated replied-to messages. The who-replied-to-whom discussion could be much easier to follow if it had been done in the comment section of this blog, but hitting “reply” to an e-mail message is still so much easier.
Utah State’s Ted Pease launched the conversation with his response to “How Journalism Professionals and Educators Can Close the Chasm,” an essay by Jerry Ceppos, new dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication at LSU. Many of the responses included links to further discussion on members’ blogs and websites.
For anyone who, like me, inadvertently hit a “delete conversation” button on a (dumb) smartphone instead of archiving the discourse to read later, here’s a reminder that mailing-list items can be retrieved by date, topic or keyword at the list-server website. The links below go to the first 48 hours of discussion. The June discussion is here.
How it began:
- AEJMC Newspaper & Online News Division The academic-professional “chasm” Dr. Dane S. Claussen
- AEJMC Newspaper & Online News Division The academic-professional “chasm” SkyeDent at aol.com
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
A post from Newspaper and Online News Division chief Chris Roberts:
University of Alabama associate professor of journalism Dr. George Daniels was among the scores of attendees but among the few bloggers at the recent media convergence conference at the University of South Carolina, where the topic was sustainability and regeneration.
What those words meant was left to conference members, who defined it in terms of ecology, ethics, economics, and change. The keynote speaker was the University of Colorado’s Steve Outing, who used Skype because an injury left him unable to travel. Daniels noted that Outing offered a “multi-layered glimpse” of journalism’s future
This was the conference’s 10th year, and Daniels came away with five points from Columbia, S.C.:
1. Convergence is not about the tools, technology or legacy media, it’s about the audience and its role.
2. Modeling of What Convergence is still needs to be done with both theoretical development and new data-gathering.
3. Digital Media and their own sustainability are now worthy of discussion and dialogue.
4. There is still a digital divide when it comes to multimedia or convergence journalism education.
5. Longitudinal Research may be harder to come by, especially when media outlets have a “no survey” policy. What are the implications of this for future convergence/multimedia research?
The cheerily titled Newspaper Death Watch may not sound like the go-to blog for journalists anxious about state of print journalism, but it’s worth a look — and actually quite inspiring.
Longtime tech journalist and industry thinker Paul Gillin doesn’t have an anti-print agenda, and indeed he considers himself “a newspaper junkie from way back.”
But he does believe in “a new model of journalism built upon aggregation and reader-generated content,” and Death Watch is all about covering the painful transition from print.
Recent posts include a detailed look at Patch.com’s localized coverage of Hurricane Irene and a farewell to the consolidated Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times.
Something for your bookmarks …
A Web developer has created a clever anonymous source tracker. It looks for various phrases (e.g., “a source close to” or “a person familiar with”) and posts the offending passage. It also tallies the number of unnamed sourcing in various news outlets. The No. 1 offender? BusinessWeek. That outlet has used unnamed sourcing 100 times in the past few days — fully three times more than the next offender, Reuters, with 31 instances. The numbers update continuously, so it will be interesting to watch them over time. Impressive bit of software coding.
After BusinessWeek and Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Associated Press, and the Washington Post led the industry. What surprised me somewhat was the comparatively low ranking of several high-profile organizations, including the Politico.com. The site is run by one Mark Schaver, by day an assistant metro editor at the Louisville Courier-Journal.
I asked Schaver what his motivation for the site was, and he wrote back this email:
I didn’t start out with any special fascination with anonymous sources. I was just looking for a way to exercise my Web development skills and thought this would be an interesting subject to shed some light on. It really is a very simple app. It just leverages Google News and Google Reader to do the searching and parses and displays the results.
Where I work (The Courier-Journal) we aren’t allowed to use anonymous sources except under extremely limited circumstances. I’d say what I find is surprising is how often they’re used and how often they’re used in situations where it’s more a convenience than a necessity.
In just the last 10 days, Schaver’s little app has found (allowing for a few duplicates and false matches) almost 2,000 examples of anonymous sourcing. That’s a lot of news from the great unknown.
What a nice way to wrap up our first year!
(He does say that “There is no ranking or secret formula to this list,” but it’s still nice to see our address on top of 90 equals… Makes me glad we have “AEJMC” in front of the name for alphabetical purposes.)
If this is indeed what the Daily Kos claims it is, this would be huge: bloggers conducting journalism — and speaking strictly personally, and not for AEJMC, I call such writers “journalists” — could stand to lose key legal protections against compelled disclosure.
In proposing a new amendment to developing federal legislation which limits the scope of media shield laws, two senators have included wording for what constitutes — and by implication, what does not constitute — a “journalist,” reports the Daily Kos. The amendment, authored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin, essentially says that if you don’t work as a salaried employee or contractor of a media enterprise, you’re something less than a journalist, at least when it comes to enjoying the privilege of shield laws.
Not surprisingly, both lefty and conservative bloggers are outraged. It seems unlikely, however, that the amendment will survive.
The language of the bill, as first reported by the blog Kos — my bolding, for there is much irony since the mainstream media missed this story – will surely strike some journalism educators as worryingly old-fashioned and narrow in its vision of journalism:
AMENDMENT NO.__ Calendar No.__
Purpose: To appropriately limit the protection from compelled disclosure.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES—111th Cong., 1st Sess.
To maintain the free flow of information to the public by providing conditions for the federally compelled disclo-sure of information by certain persons connected with the news media.
Referred to the Committee on ___ and ordered to be printed Ordered to lie on the table and to be printed
AMENDMENTS intended to be proposed by Mrs. F EINSTEIN (for herself and Mr. D URBIN )
In section 10(2)(A), strike clause (iii) and insert the following:
(iii) obtains the information sought while working as a salaried employee of, or independent contractor for, an entity—
(I) that disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, 1or other means; and
(aa) publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical;
(bb) operates a radio or television broadcast station, network, cable system, or satellite carrier, or a channel or programming service for any such station, network, system, or carrier;
(cc) operates a programming service; or
(dd) operates a news agency or wire service;
In section 10(2)(B), strike ‘‘and’’ at the end.
In section 10(2)(C), strike the period at the end and insert ‘‘; and’’.
In section 10(2), add at the end the following:
(D) does not include an individual who gathers or disseminates the protected information sought to be compelled anonymously or under a pseudonym.
Problem is, so far, I can’t find the amended bill anywhere. Perhaps it’s already been quashed by an outcry from the “netroots.” I’ll report back when I learn more.
Here’s the amendment:
The ‘save journalism’ and ‘save newspapers’ debate
Is this a ‘dying industry’ or not?
by Bob Stepno… A Summer 2009 collection of news and blog pieces on the “future of news” and “newspaper bailout” debates and related issues… Originally posted in Bob’s old AEJMC Newspaper Division blog.
[Fall 2009 revisions to this July list will be highlighted in green next to the original item, such as the note from Jeff Jarvis below, or they can be added as comments.]
Don’t let the title fool you… There’s inspiration and a hint of optimism in Barbara Ehrenreich’s 2009 commencement address at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism: Welcome to a dying industry, journalism grads
Next, from Jane Singer, in an AEJMC discussion of the future of journalism & mass communication: one blue-sky scenario of how the not-too-distant future might look for our graduates. (Updated link & info: Since my original post, Jane’s essay has won an AEJMC prize.)
Save the separation of press and state, by David Carr, NY Times
In Congress, no love lost for newspapers, Dana Milbank column in Washington Post
Laws That Could Save Journalism by Bruce W. Sanford and Bruce D. Brown in The Washington Post
“A Newspaper Bailout” by Adam Ross in the Post back in February, describing President Nicholas Sarkozy’s plan to aid the French press.
They Pay for Cable, Music and Extra Bags. How about News? by Richard Perez-Pena and Tim Arango, NYTimes.
Sen. John Kerry’s opening remarks as chairman of Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet’s hearing on “The Future of Journalism.” Also from hearing, Arianna Huffington‘s testimony.
Video and transcripts from the “Free Press Summit” sponsored by the Knight Foundation.
Duke University’s non-profit media conference, including Penelope Muse Abernathy’s paper, “A Nonprofit Model for The New York Times?” — which inspired this follow-up in the New Yorker. And more about the conference at The Nonprofit Road.
“Life after newspapers,” by Michael Kinsley.
“The American Press on Suicide Watch,” by Frank Rich.
The newspaper crisis discussed at Princeton event, from NewJerseyNewsroom.com, a site founded when a bunch of journalists got together at a public library and decided to “create a news site — unlike any other — to address the growing journalism void.”
Scott Rosenberg, “How charging for articles could hobble the future of journalism.”
“First, stop the lawyers,” by Jeff Jarvis, Buzz Machine.
I now say that there isn’t a crisis. That’s not what I used to say. Indeed, one of my mistakes in this debate has been accepting the assumption that there was one and allowing the debate to start there: “How are you going to save journalism from the scourge of your damned internet?”
Instead, the discussion should start here: “Look at all the new opportunities there are to gather and share news in new ways, to expand and improve it, to change journalism’s relationship with its public and make it collaborative, to find new efficiencies and lower costs and thus to return to profitability and sustainability.”
(Back to the earlier list…)
Two big ones, saved for the end:
From “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable” by Clay Shirky
special cases. Many of these models will rely on amateurs as
researchers and writers. Many of these models will rely on sponsorship
or grants or endowments instead of revenues. Many of these models will
rely on excitable 14 year olds distributing the results. Many of these
models will fail. No one experiment is going to replace what we are now
losing with the demise of news on paper, but over time, the collection
of new experiments that do work might give us the journalism we need.”
From The Elite Newspaper of the Future by Philip Meyer, last fall in American Journalism Review.
The now-emeritus UNC professor suggests it’s o.k. for newspapers to give up on “selling everything to everybody.” Instead, he says they should focus on being trusted, responsible sources of evidence-based public affairs news and analysis, aimed at what the sociologists call “opinion leaders” — what Phil calls “well-educated news junkies.”
hybrid content: analysis, interpretation and investigative reporting in
a print product that appears less than daily, combined with constant
updating and reader interaction on the Web.”
Searching for a theme…. I did like the simplicity of http://aejmcnewspaper.wordpress.com, but not the lack of author names or CSS control… but it will be the weekend before I even peek at others.