Future of College Media: Inspiring reads and excellent blogs

I’m about half way through my series exploring the different trends and problems facing collegiate newspapers and media, and I figured it’d be pertinent to post some of the articles and websites that I’ve been using for inspiration and supplemental information. If you want to read the series thus far, click here.

This blog is my bible. Run by Dan Reimold, College Media Matters covers rising trends, interesting or controversial going-ons and story ideas in the collegiate media world. Reimold updates about once a day, and his posts are explicit in detail and usually contain some excellent analysis. For the day-to-day happenings in the world of college news and reporting, College Media Matters is one of the best resources available.

I’m not going to lie; this Colombia Journalism Review article is extremely long, and incredibly thorough. While it doesn’t specifically address the specific issues regarding the future of collegiate journalism, it does cover in great detail the issues facing modern journalism, and the steps professional journalists are taking to avoid a systematic collapse. Especially relevant is the section on a university’s role in the process, including publishing student work and the large number of journalism centers calling higher education institutions home.

During my enrollment in David Ryfe’s Future of Journalism class over winter break, I had a sudden epiphany regarding the problems facing modern journalism, and the difficulty in solving them. Although the writings and ideas of Clay Shirky, Jeff Jarvis and Jay Rosen were promoted heavily throughout the class, I always held to a lingering doubt in the back of my mine regarding these academic’s view of the future of news. Then I read Starkman’s essay. Although I was careful to avoid sympathizing too much with a viewpoint obviously favorable to the kind of hard-hitting print journalism I enjoy and promote, his arguments won me over. Though it’s not the best piece for a beginning reader to start with, Starkman’s essay is a thoughtful and needed reaction to the kind of ‘accepted’ future of news promoted by people such as Shirky and Jarvis.

Though it’s not entirely devoted to collegiate news, Romenesko (a former writer for Poynter) is one of the best media bloggers out there, which more often than not contains the actions of a collegiate outlet. Romenesko also has a bit of a larger audience than College Media Matters, so his blog post about a college paper naming a rape victim creates more of a conversation amid his audience than a similar post would have on CMM. Still, Romensko’s commentary is usually on-point and logical, and his blog is a great source of media news.

As hard as it is to admit, journalism schools play a large role in the development and training of young journalists. While it’s nice to have an active and viable student press, journalism schools need to be there from the beginning to help train young journalists and co-develop a future for the business. Faculty at these schools have a responsibility to advocate for their profession, taking the form of mentoring student journalists, starting local journalistic partnerships and more. Teaching the inverted pyramid style won’t cut it anymore.

All issues facing the world of journalism really begin with one problem; how to reach and connect with an audience that shuns newspapers, television broadcasts and most regular news. Czerski, a Polish writer who’s work was translated into English, lays out the kind of unspoken mindset that many younger people have. His argument is really that the generations born using the Internet fundamentally see the world differently than their elder peers. It’s a terrifying thing to realize that making journalism successful in the future will require the kind of humongous overhaul in how we look at the world to work and remain profitable. (Also, the comments section hosts a great debate. Definitely worth a read.)

David Carr, the media reporter and resident crotchety old man of the New York Times, is a different breed of journalist. In the Future of News class I mentioned above, Carr seemed like the opposite of new thinkers such as Shirky and Rosen, so I was immediately fascinated with the prospect of the two eating dinner together. Carr’s essay didn’t really cover the debate raging between Shirky and people such as Starkman, but he did focus on an intriguing aspect of the online world I hadn’t thought about before; the lack of intimate contact. Carr ends his essay saying, “…you can follow someone on Twitter, friend them on Facebook, quote or be quoted by them in a newspaper article, but until you taste their bread, you don’t really know them.” Though there’s no connection to collegiate readings, I feel as though the limits of social media and the online world are an excellent reminder for collegiate journalists; interviews through email or Twitter are never as good as those done in person.

While those aren’t all the readings, sources and tools I use to go about this project, it’s a pretty good representation of the wide variety and information that I use to try and understand what college media is all about. If you’re reading this and think a piece or blog is missing or would fit right in, either email me here or leave a comment down below.


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