[AEJMC Newspaper Division list] New name for newspaper division: don't do it!
bob at stepno.com
Sun Jul 20 01:08:43 CDT 2008
On 7/19/08, Phil Meyer <pmeyer at email.unc.edu> wrote:
> I've been traveling and haven't had time to read all the posts, but
> here's my take. Don't do it!
Welcome back, Phil... If you or any others want to catch up on the
discussion without sifting through your e-mail box, here's a shortcut
to the Web version of the list archive, which can be sorted several
I agree we should keep the name Newspaper Division -- with an
up-to-date subtitle added to all "official" division publications.
We also should have a longer "statement of purpose" explaining that
subtitle -- to inform prospective members about the focus of the
division -- as one that includes the newswork or "green eyeshade"
traditions of reporting, writing, editing, headline writing, layout,
etc., the "chi square" traditions of audience analysis, management,
marketing, some qualitative approaches to newswork sociology and
history, and contemporary issues of interactivity, convergence and
If we are a "newspaper" division, we need to define the term. Do we
restrict ourselves to the "newspaper industry" or acknowledge
newspaper-like behavior by others?
To me, a 21st century "newspaper" is a publication that
-- focuses a substantial amount of its content on factual reports
about civic or cultural affairs and public issues. (Not an advertising
circular, diary or TV guide)
-- frequently updates its content (Not a monthly magazine)
-- publishes text in print, online or both, with or without multimedia
elements (No dead trees required)
Such position statements could be an "embrace and extend" tactic to
stake a claim to the newspaper-like behavior of "online newspapers"
whether they are published by NPR, CNN, Poynter, volunteers who read
Jay Rosen, or the robots at Google News. Certainly research on the
"newspaper reading" public can't ignore the fact that today's reader
is free to view all of those sources, or that the Web editions all
look somewhat similar.
(I'd call http://www.cbsnews.com the "CBS online newspaper," as
opposed to "http://cbs.com" -- both of which are fair game for the
technology and broadcast divisions.)
I don't think it would be a disaster to have a "Journalism" or "News
Media" division, but turning the newspaper division into it could, as
Jack has mentioned, begin a major turf battle. Creating a "Big J"
division from scratch would be divisive too, but perhaps such an
entity could co-exist with slimmed-down versions of the current
divisions. And that would be one more slate of division officers to
add to c.vita!
Enough late-night thinking outloud.
mild-mannered division web editor
http://stepno.com http://stepno.com/blog http://www.radford.edu/comm
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