[AEJMC Newspaper Division list] Newspaper division name change
Judith L Sylvester
jsylves at lsu.edu
Tue Aug 10 17:26:52 CDT 2010
I hadn't paid my dues when this discussion started, so I thought it best to stay out of this. But, I'm paid up now, so here goes. I think the problem is that journalism has changed to the point that it is almost impossible to tell the difference between an online newspaper and an online broadcast entity. The newsrooms may emphasize different approaches still -- going out with a camera crew and only doing "visual" stories versus going out with a still camera or maybe a video camera but doing the story regardless of the visuals. I know I'm oversimplifying here, but from all the talking I've done with journalists and visiting newsrooms and simply observing, I can say with a great deal of certainty that the current and next generation of journalists have to be able to produce on multi-platforms. Until about a year ago, the Baton Rouge Advocate and WBRZ-TV shared a website. They don't anymore mostly because WBRZ couldn't promote its stories as much as the staff wanted, but the Advocate still gets to use WBRZ-produced video. Some newspapers have their own videographers who stream video online. And, all you have to do is check out NPR's website to see that audio reporters also have to write stories for the Web -- and these are not just radio scripts, they are additional content that did not make it on the air waves. Most reporters also know how to take photographs, too. My point is that it's not just newspapers that are changing. All news media are operating on multiple platforms and journalists have to know how to do it all and do it on a broadcast timetable. So, the problem with calling the division "news media" will only work if we combine with broadcast and magazines to produce a multi-platform division. I vote for "multi-platform journalism."
It's a different argument, though, if we are talking about research. "Newspapers" still have a different approach -- more beats, less emphasis on the visual, definitely more local or regional in focus. So on that level, it makes sense to retrain the newspaper division name. However, it is clear to me that we need to be teaching our students how to blog and tweet and WRITE and REPORT. But, guess what? The broadcast division has to do the same. I don't have an elegant solution, but I think we need to frame the name change discussion differently.
Manship School of Mass Communication
221 Journalism Building
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-7202
225 578-2067 Office
225 578-2125 FAX
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