Edward R. Murrow Program journalists meet with Twin Cities media
By Sarah Saubert
Edward R. Murrow Program participants with SJMC and Minnesota International Center staff.
Photo: Sarah Saubert
The visiting journalists, who hailed from the People's Republic of China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan, hold positions in television and print news in their home countries. The SJMC designed a specialized agenda for the group visit, including seminars on international relations and press freedom led by SJMC faculty, a visit to the Star Tribune to observe professional journalists, visits to 3M and General Mills to learn about international business innovation and a trip to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis to learn about monetary policy and international trade. The journalists also participated in a roundtable discussion about U.S. foreign policy with local journalists and in a discussion with University of Minnesota China Center and Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs faculty and staff.
The Murrow Program is an innovative public-private partnership among the Department of State, the Aspen Institute, and 10 leading U.S. schools of journalism. The program brings approximately 160 journalists from independent media outlets around the world to the United States annually to examine journalistic principles and practices, both here and abroad, and to interact with professional journalists and experts in the field.
MJC hosts Poynter Institute seminar
Journalists from across the country attended the week-long Poynter Institute seminar "Essential Skills for the Digital Journalist" at Murphy Hall last October. The annual seminar is designed to equip attendees with new tools to handle the challenges of producing quality news reports, programs and publications. The seminar presents methods to help journalists be better at what they do and offers them new ways to think about their work. At the October seminar, attendees learned to master the basics of audio, video and other multimedia tools. They learned key communication skills as well as how to navigate ethical pressures affecting emerging platforms. They also explored how to change the way they think about storytelling and the role of independent journalism in the service of democracy.
During the seminar, MJC director Kathleen Hansen spoke to the journalists about digital research strategies. Her presentation examined new information gathering methods for various tasks, accessing public records online and evaluating information obtained through digital searches. View Hansen's digital research strategies presentation at http://www.mjc.umn.edu/events/past.html.
Conference evaluates future of the industry
The New Economic Models for News Conference, held on the Twin Cities campus in June, brought together media professionals, business leaders, professors and students to discuss new economic methods to support the struggling news industry. Well-known media representatives from across the country spoke at the conference, including Bernard Lunzer, president of The Newspaper Guild; John Sturm, president & CEO of the Newspaper Association of America; Ted Venetoulis, chairman & CEO of Corridor Media Inc.; Robert Lang, CEO of the Mannweiler Foundation; Jennifer Towery, president of the Peoria Newspaper Guild; Joel Kramer, editor & CEO of MinnPost; David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; and Steve Yelvington, media strategist for Morris DigitalWorks. The Minnesota Journalism Center and the Newspaper Guild sponsored the event.
The conference welcomed audience participation via Twitter, and audience members embraced the opportunity to comment on the speakers' varied opinions. Bob Stepno, a journalism professor and former reporter, tweeted, "The goal shouldn't be how to save (the) newspaper industry but how to develop a new business model for all, including newspapers." Twitter proved to be a valuable way to improve audience involvement and encourage dialogue among participants.
Lunzer and Sturm discussed the role that government, foundations, conglomerates and local ownership can play in journalism's future, and how the changing regulatory environment affects journalists, stakeholders and the resulting product. Lunzer raised the issue of Google's effect on advertising and news distribution, saying, "Google has had a free ride, and it should be over. They should give something back for the advertising dollars they receive off of other people's efforts. Information can't all be free."
Venetoulis, Lang and Towery discussed new ownership models and their feasibility, benefits, restrictions and potential impact on the future of journalism. They looked at a number of recent proposals, suggestions and criticisms to determine the most logical and beneficial models for a variety of news outlets while stressing the importance of local journalism and ownership.
Kramer and Yelvington discussed new revenue models. Kramer pointed to the MinnPost model and its advantages and disadvantages in the wider news world, while Yelvington examined a variety of models and stressed the keys for a successful business. Both panelists had predictions about which models will and will not be successful in the future. James Santori, publisher of the Mankato (Minn.) Free Press, tweeted, "Journalism never had a business model. It was always subsidized by something--political parties started it, then it morphed to the commercial application of hooking up businesses with consumers."
During his address, keynote speaker Shribman focused on the importance of the news industry and its future, offered insights into the life of an editor and provided hope for the next generation of journalists. When Nahid Khan, an SJMC graduate student, asked for his advice for journalists in training, Shribman replied, "You have to get an internship. They are a ladder of social mobility. They introduce you to a way of thinking and working. The skills that you learn in preparation for a life in journalism are useful whether you work for a newspaper or not. The skills you learn--how to ask questions, gather information, have a humane eye toward the commerce of the world, to have strong and sharp judgment--those are skills you can apply to any profession."
With the news industry changing rapidly, the MJC was pleased to promote dialogue about new economic models that may help the industry adapt its business practices to the changing realities of the marketplace. Access the conference summary and video online at http://www.mjc.umn.edu/events/photos.html.