College Media

CollegeJourn wrap-up: Should j-students read newspapers?

The following sub-topics summarize the conversations that unfolded during Sunday night’s #collegejourn, a weekly chat that takes place at collegejourn.com among journalism students, educators and professionals (or you can read the full transcript here):

How can a student magazine utilize a Web site and reach out to an online audience? (Based off a question by Dale Johnson from Cal State Long Beach)

  • Tease to the web from the print publication (e.g. “Go online to see a slideshow of the event”)
  • Between print issues, publish preview/follow-up articles online
  • Make a Twitter account and start following people from your community
  • Reach out to students over Facebook (make a fan page, post article links)

Does a news site “cannibalize” the newspaper?

  • Mark Coughlan brought up this topic, suggesting the concept of “eating your own” (i.e. giving the same content to readers who aren’t paying/viewing advertisements are those who are, eating your own potential market)
  • CICM noted that most studies say 80 percent of college news site visitors are off-campus (parents, alumni and potential students)

According to Australian research, students aren’t reading newspapers. Should they? (Via a post by Andy Dickinson)

Dickison argues journalism students should read physical newspapers because it’s their field of study. He writes:

Let’s, for one second, imagine newspapers will die. Wouldn’t it be great to have an understanding of how they died so you don’t make the same mistakes?

  • Most chat participants seemed to agree that from their personal observations, the study is accurate — students are not reading newspapers
  • Bryan Murley (from CICM) argued he reads the best in “print” journalism online; he doesn’t want his students to necessarily read newspapers but to read the news
  • @polarscribe gave the example of the parolee who shot and killed four Oakland police officers: “Did I wait to pick up the New York Times this morning to read about it? Heck no, I clicked ‘refresh’ at SFGate.com and OaklandTribune.com a million times a second.”

What do you think should be covered when it comes to journalism research today and why? A few responses:

  •  Deeper studies about news audiences
  • Getting more foreign voices into American mainstream media
  • Looking to conversations outside the journalism sphere and tapping into them
  • Why is word-of-mouth journalism becoming more popular than corporate news?

Again, you can read the full transcript here. Shout out to Kelly Springer (@AKFirecracker) for filling in as moderator for Suzanne Yada (@suzannayada). You can join in on the chat every Sunday evening 5-8 p.m. PST (8-11 p.m. EST).


Also, a few highlights from the first ever Euro version of #collegejourn chat which took place earlier in the day (Noon PST), hosted by @joshhalljourno:

Topic 1: How do you think your journalism course/faculty is coping right now? Is it adapting/evolving? What is it doing right?This topic was a preface to Poynter’s chat about journalism education and response to a post by Mindy McAdams. McAdams writes that the typical “skills vs. mindset” debate wastes time:

Of course the students need to learn the basic principles of journalism: accuracy, fairness, truth. They need to learn how to find and obtain public records. They must learn how to interview — and let me add, how to interview effectively.

Chatters agreed that City University of New York’s (CUNY) new journalism program is a step in the right direction. The graduate program established a concept of complete convergence instead of forced tracks. Jeff Jarvis explains it best:

The bigger point is that media is becoming singular. Especially as newspapers die and more people watch what we used to call TV online or on mobile, it will be absurd to separate the forms. In my day (picture me blogging that from a rocking chair), we had to pick our medium once for a career. Now, every time a journalist goes out to cover news, she must be equipped and prepared to gather and share it in any and all media. That’s what we mean when we say convergence.

Jarvis does note that the CUNY approach is not a solution but a new way of thinking.

What the chatters said:

The thing is – with all these *new* things we’ve incorporated (or not) into our curriculum – nothing has been diminished – nothing is less important now than it was –joshhalljourno

I said that in some ways we have no clue as to what we will be teaching in 3 yrs time. Think what it was like 3 yrs ago! –chrisrushton

I think the good future journalist should not be defined by the speed the brings news… (citizen journalists will always be faster) the good future journalist should be defined by how good the information is researched –florida_mike

Still on the topic of journalism education, “Are part-time lecturers, who also work part-time inside the industry, better able to prepare future journalists than full-time lecturers?”

I’ve had great experiences with professionals teaching my courses . . . they’re more directly connected to what’s happening, and take a more realistic approach to subjects –samuel jay

We had a digital editor come in to our newsroom for just an [hour] last week to talk online/multimedia – honestly it was a great impetus for people to start thinking beyond words on a page –joshhalljourno

My course is only taught by part-time. Great for making contacts and ensuring the [curriculum] is as up-to-date as possible… –Mark_Coughlan

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