Reason for this blog
This effort is to satisfy a requirement for a graduate class at the University of Minnesota, "The Future of News." For the final project we have been assigned a project that reflects the class discussions on the development of news and the role of journalism as it has evolved in the United States, and the role it has played in our democracy. Does the craft of journalism still act as a watchdog on democratic institutions, as a marketplace of ideas, as a common ground for different segments of society, and as a shaper of our civic values. We are living turbulent times of many changes in all aspects of print and broadcast mediums with busted budgets due to declining revenues, consolidation of the media corporations, changes in technology leading to previously unaffordable print, photographic, and video tools, and the resulting rise of “citizen journalists" who are eager to tell their stories-without corporate media obstacles- on the world wide web.
My original assignment was to choose a medium and monitor it to see how it dealt with these and other issues. I chose to follow the “U.S. News and World Report” website to see if it is answering any of these and other questions: What role do they play in relation to other news sites? What they are their strategies to survive in a rapidly changing media environment? How do they operate regarding their financial resources, staffing, editorial priorities, union representation? Do they have an interest in promoting democracy in the U.S.? Are they providing specific, targeted coverages, or are they acting as a source that promotes a trend towards self-selection of news, a "shotgun" approach of many choices, by readers so they can stay viable? And what’s the deal with “Best of” rankings that are the cornerstone of the publication?
Finally, Why a blog?
Instead of writing a research paper or putting together a powerpoint presentation, a blog is one of the many web 2.0 social networking tools that are having an impact on how journalism is practiced. It allows me to be able to remain flexible over time in adding information, and it can be interactive- anybody care to comment? This is my first blog. Its been an on-going learning experience.