[AEJMC Newspaper Division list] An Old Coot's thoughts about the "Newspaper" Division
BentleyCl at missouri.edu
Wed Aug 11 22:05:49 CDT 2010
You missed the point, Bob. For our lifetime there will be a newspaper industry that is organized much like it was when paper was its only medium: A large corps of reporters vetted by a somewhat smaller corps of editors supported by a large corps of advertising representatives — all of whom focus on a defined geographic area. That may not be the best way to operate in the Internet era, but it does and will exist and does and will be the subject of countless research projects.
Why does our “newspaper” division need to evolve beyond what the actual newspaper companies are evolving? All newspapers have online sites and arguably they comprise the majority of online news sites. But they are still part of newspaper organizations and identify themselves as such (you don’t have to remind them, Bob). At same time, there are great online news sites as part of TV stations or radio stations — the same digital medium but very different organizational structures. Should CNN.com, BBC.co or Radford’s WBDJ7.com be under the focus of the Newspaper Division if we add “Online News” to the name? I’d love to hear the opinions on that from Radio-Television Journalism Division members.
Let newspapers, TV stations, radio stations and magazines develop whatever output media that suits them, but don’t try to cram just part of their operations into a single division. That would be like saying you could discuss lectures or textbooks for courses, but you could not include both in a discussion of teaching.
What is missing is a division focused on Web-only news organizations. They are growing widely and represent a new type of media organization. We need a dedicated unit that facilitates research on this new genre. Right now, mobile also is largely subsumed by newspaper or broadcast organizations, but it also likely will blossom into free-standing outlets. Who gets them? Divisions and interest groups are by definition specialized. There is no sin in creating new specialties and letting the divisions supporting shrinking specialties shrink with them.
Clyde H. Bentley, Ph.D.
Print & Digital News
Missouri School of Journalism
3 Neff Hall
Columbia, MO 65211-1200
(o) 573 884 9688 (m) 573 999 1580
BentleyCl at missouri.edu
Bob Stepno8/11/10 9:00 PM
Interesting idea, Clyde...
But why not just embrace those free-standing online news sites and
mobile news sites: Either update our name to it "Newspaper and Online
News Division" or inform those new organizations that they ARE
"newspapers" in a new 21st century sense of the word... just as bits
of information on a screen are "pages" without the use of actual
Anyone have editing-access to add a fourth line to this "page"?
Maybe forming a new division would be easier...
But adding ".. and Online News" to the name wouldn't abandon the
newspaper industry -- it would acknowledge that everyone in the
industry right now is printing online as well as on paper.
On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 1:11 PM, Bentley, Clyde <BentleyCl at missouri.edu> wrote:
> The one obvious action that our recent discussion suggests is the establishment of a new AEJMC division for online news. The Newspaper Division clearly cannot claim all “news,” without invading the turf of our broadcast, magazine and photojournalism kin. We also cannot abandon the newspaper industry, as there are still about 1,200 dailies and 9,000 weeklies in the United States — most of which are still profitable.
> The definition of “newspaper” will change, just as “telephone” now includes devices that send text and access the Web. In Scandinavia, newspaper companies have adopted the term “media house,” but I have seen no movement to change the name of the U.S. organizations that started with print on paper but now all have electronic outlets of some sort. The AEJMC news division center on types of media organizations, not the changing definitions of the media.
> That said, I very much want to see an online news division. We have nowhere for research on free-standing online news sites or the developing mobile news sites. It would make sense for the Newspaper Division to sponsor a new division, even if it means our own membership will shrink. That’s fine — the industry is also sinking though not disappearing.
> So how do we go about launching a new division?
> Clyde H. Bentley, Ph.D.
> Associate Professor
> Print & Digital News
> Missouri School of Journalism
> 3 Neff Hall
> Columbia, MO 65211-1200
> (o) 573 884 9688 (m) 573 999 1580
> BentleyCl at missouri.edu
> Bob Stepno8/10/10 4:36 PM
> Hi Martin (& all),
> I'm not only another old coot, I'll admit to being a loon, a "Lover Of
> Old Newspapers," as described in the top video here:
> But that's just for fun.
> Having read all of the summer 2008 and 2010 discussions in this list
> and on our division blog (which I hope is not included in your "which
> I DO NOT READ" exclamation), I'll recap that the main objection to
> removing "...paper" from the name of the division and going to "News
> Media" is that AEJMC has other divisions interested in other news
> media, particularly the Radio & TV Journalism Division and the
> Magazine Division, as well as numerous interest groups that focus on
> news media.
> Appending something like "& Online News" has been suggested as an
> alternative. So has keeping "Newspaper Division" and adding a subtitle
> or mission statement that explains how and why we aren't dinosaurs.
> Was there any movement to consolidate, merge or converge divisions at
> AEJMC's Denver gathering? Whichever college president compared moving
> a university to moving a cemetery (Kerr? Hutchins?) might have
> extended that to academic organizations.
> For most of us, I suspect "Newspaper" suggests not just the artifact,
> but all of the better traditions of newspaper journalism, such as
> community coverage, independence, public interest watchdog and
> investigative reporting, in-depth analysis, and editing (or at least
> aspiring) to certain standards of accuracy, style, diversity, etc.
> For most of us, "Newspaper" is also a romantic notion linked to
> careers division members have had, read about, or aspired to. As
> Richard Harding Davis put it,
> "Now, you cannot pay a good reporter for what he does, because he does
> not work for pay. He works for his paper. He gives his time, his
> health, his brains, his sleeping hours, and his eating hours, and
> sometimes his life, to get news for it. He thinks the sun rises only
> that men may have light by which to read it."
> For others, "Newspaper" suggests an arrogant and short-sighted
> industry beset by takeovers, consolidations, regional monopolies,
> thinning audiences and a lack of corporate commitment to some of the
> ideals and "better traditions" mentioned above... along with an
> uncertain attitude toward new online media.
> No wonder our division is, er, divided.
> Anyone care to summarize what was said or done about any of this in Denver?
> coot/loon cred: The Hartford Courant, 1969-1980
> Raleigh News & Observer (Nando.net), 1994-98
> On Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 1:40 PM, MARTIN HALSTUK <Halstuk at psu.edu> wrote:
>> I am an old coot. I LOVE newspapers. I used to be city editor of the San
>> Francisco Examiner and a business editor at the Los Angeles Times. I was a
>> reporter at the Oakland Tribune and at the San Francisco Chronicle....
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