[AEJMC Newspaper Division list] New name for Newspaper Division?
susank at scils.rutgers.edu
Thu Jul 17 10:16:34 CDT 2008
Dear Newspaper Division colleagues,
I'm writing to ask you to consider an issue that the division's executive
committee will be discussing next month in Chicago: whether the Newspaper
Division of AEJMC should consider changing its name.
In the July issue of our division newsletter, LeadTime, I argued that -- in
keeping with AEJMC's focus this year on the future of our field -- our
division should expand its name to clearly indicate that it embraces the
study of online and other types of journalism practiced by newspaper
companies. If you are away from the location where you receive your mailed
copy, you can download a PDF of the newsletter from
http://aejmc.net/newspaper/leadtime/leadtime_july_2008.pdf But I will
briefly recap my reasons for suggesting a name change here:
1. "Newspaper" no longer accurately describes the full range of products
that traditional print journalism outlets are producing.
2. "Newspaper" no longer accurately describes the full range of journalistic
work that our division members study. At the Chicago convention, we will
hear research presentations on newspaper online interactivity, copy editors'
roles in the "digital revolution," online citizen journalism and reporters'
3. Giving the division a name that accurately reflects the breadth of our
interests might help us stem a decline in membership. Although the Newspaper
Division remains the largest in AEJMC (by just 20 members), membership has
fallen 13.3 percent since 2004, from 684 to 593. It's impossible to say for
sure what caused the decline, but it's possible that some AEJMC members are
not joining our division or renewing membership in it because they think all
we are concerned with is what some view as a dying medium. (I don't share
that view, but it is out there.)
4. Giving the division a name that accurately reflects the breadth of our
interests might help us stem a decline over the past few years in paper
submissions. Again, it's impossible to say for sure why our submissions have
been down, but it may be that scholars studying such topics as online news
sites, for example, have perceived our division as being focused only on
news printed on paper.
5. Expanding our division's name to something like "Newspaper and Online
Journalism Division" or "Newspaper and Newer Media Division" -- or some
better name members suggest -- would let us offer a division home to the
scholars who study online and newer media journalism. Some of those people
are now affiliated with AEJMC's Communication Technology Division. But for
others, whose work is focused more on *journalism* than *technology,* that
division may not seem like the perfect fit.
6. Expanding our division's name might help us better weather any internal
reorganization that grows out of adopting the AEJMC Strategic Plan, which
members will be asked to vote on in Chicago. (You can read more about it,
from my perspective, here:
A few of you have already responded to my print column explaining why you do
or do not support a name change. I will be sharing your opinions with the
membership via this list (unless you asked me not to). I hope that this note
in your e-mail box will prompt more of you to respond and share your
opinions about whether changing the division's name is a good idea and, if
so, what the new name should be.
You can share your thoughts by sending a note to the Newspaper Division
e-mail list at news-list at aejmc.net I hope you'll share your opinions
publically, but if you'd rather send them just to me, you may do so at
susank at scils.rutgers.edu.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Susan Keith, Ph.D.
2007-2008 AEJMC Newspaper Division head
Department of Journalism and Media Studies
School of Communication, Information and Library Studies
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
4 Huntington Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 932-7500, ext. 8235
susank at scils.rutgers.edu
Office: CILS 106
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