The recent coverage of the 911 anniversary was prolific to say the least, and some, I know, do not understand the media’s fascination with anniversaries. But I always love a good anniversary, and spent a good chunk of my Sunday, Sept. 11, glued to the television. I pulled out a couple pieces for my news producing students to take a gander at, and sent them out on our protrack listserve. Thought I’d share here as well:
1) This Nation piece is important for journalism students to read because it really gets at something significant about humanity. It’s not just another memorial piece or article about the anniversary coverage. It delves deep into our feelings about suicide and death and honor. It delves into our societal values.
Do note the incredible details the report got here, as in this sentence: “Richard used to look at the postings and the photographs on the internet and sometimes wondered if Karen had jumped. She was very vain and particular about her face, he knew; she used plenty of wrinkle cream, and he always figured if conditions were that bad she would jump rather than face the fires.”
2) And also, check out the images here at the NYT of the memorial ceremony. Study the photographs. Note how they show emotion and perspective. Note how they focus on a specific subjects despite the mass crowds and chaos of the day.
If you are interested in being put on the protrack listserve, please send me your email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also have a twitter hashtag at #jprotrack.
(This post by Professor Downey has been moved to a more appropriate site — his personal weblog, The Note on my Door.)
Below is my latest post on MediaTrope:
Have you seen the latest report from National Council for Journalists?
Their major finding: Editors still prize traditional skills. One editor in the report said:
An ability to spot a story, conduct a strong interview and then produce clean, legally sound, well-structured copy remains the priority,” said one editor, “with these key skills everything else (social media, video etc) will follow.
Another finding in the report suggests that understanding audience interaction and digital skills were low-totem-poll priorities. The report concluded: “What is required is for the exam to evolve; there is no demand for a revolution.”
I do a ton of interviews with journalists and always end with the question, “what should I be teaching our students, your future employees?” And the answer has always been the same: Good reporting, writing skills. Always good to be reminded. This is a no-brainer.
And yet some of the dialogue in this report distresses me, particularly the de-emphasis on digital skills such as interactivity. My interviews with audience members suggest they want immediate information they can connect with and do something with.
It occurs to me that the industry is not doing so hot right now. Perhaps we need to rethink skill priority in the effort of experimenting with new content and revenue platforms. I’m not saying do away with good reporting and good writing skills — these are what help set journalists apart from all the other noise. However, my interviews with audience members indicate that if journalists want to remain relevant to their lives, reporters need to re-learn how best to apply those reporting and writing skills in new kinds of formats and presentation styles with linking pathways and connection opportunities.
Revolution may be in order.
I am curious what our students make of the arguments in this piece:
Unpaid Interns, Complicit Colleges – NYTimes.com
The uncritical internship fever on college campuses — not to mention the exploitation of graduate student instructors, adjunct faculty members and support staff — is symptomatic of a broader malaise. Far from being the liberal, pro-labor bastions of popular image, universities are often blind to the realities of work in contemporary America.
Here in the SJMC, we’ve worked with employers many times, trying to fashion internships with compensation or where it was not possible, a robust experience that paid off later. Our alumni have helped with this effort, as well, through such things as funding the Sharon Stark Investigative Internship at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
But I’d like to hear from students. What do you make of the arguments? What have been the strengths and weaknesses of your paid and unpaid internships?
Well, it only took me two years to figure out that our colleagues upstairs in the Department of Communication Arts have a great collaborative weblog going too! It’s called Antenna and it is well worth a read. In their own words:
Antenna is a collectively authored media and cultural studies blog committed to timely yet careful analysis of texts, news, and events from across the popular culture spectrum. The site regularly responds to new works and developments in television, film, music, gaming, digital video, the Internet, print, and the media industries.
Antenna is intended to address a broad public inside and outside the university walls. Within those walls, though, it further intends to bridge the gap between scholarly journals, which remain the paradigm for scholarly discourse but too often lack the ability to reply to issues and events in media with any immediacy, and single-author media scholar blogs, which support swift commentary but are limited in their reliance upon the effort and perspectives of individuals. Coordinated by a group of writers who draw on a variety of approaches and methodologies, Antenna, therefore, exists as a means to analyze media news and texts, both as they happen and from multiple perspectives.
Antenna is operated and edited by graduate students and faculty in the Media and Cultural Studies area of the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. However, content is provided from a mixture of our editors and of a diverse group of writers elsewhere.
Maybe Mediated Communication readers might even engage in some cross-blog discussion?