Just because you read it

Board members from the Alabama Press Association were at Samford today talking to JMC students. Their advice: journalists are generalists, don’t limit yourself to print or video but get a bit of both, separate yourself from your competition.

The board members were passionate, optimistic and dedicated to helping their community and their industry. They gave good advice for students, both in the Crimson office, and in Dr. Jones’ print practicum class.

Dr. Jones got the ball rolling: “What skills do these students need?”

The consensus response? “Everything.”

Sounds familiar. We talk about that all the time at Samford, where our program endorses a broad-based approach. It helps make interns and graduates look more valuable to potential employers.

After that, the students have to take it upon themselves, but to get that encouragement from the faculty, to hear it from the pros — and to see how the industry is coming around to that reality, is a great thing. We’re doing it right.

And then there’s the latest from Pew.

The report goes on to say that 32 percent of these people say the disappearance of their local paper would have a major impact on their lives. Among people who aren’t that interested in local news, about half say their lives wouldn’t change at all if they didn’t have a local paper. Good, for newspapers, right?

But look at it another way: That means 68 percent of local news enthusiasts don’t believe the disappearance of their local paper would affect their lives in a major way. And 34 percent of such enthusiasts say the disappearance wouldn’t affect their lives at all.

This likely reflects local news enthusiasts’ reliance on TV; Pew reports that 80 percent of them use broadcast TV on a weekly basis, compared to 48 percent for newspapers, 52 percent for radio and 57 percent for “word of mouth.” TV was also the preferred source for weather and breaking news, the two issues local news enthusiasts follow most closely.

Believe being the key word. Look, the more media the better, and not just for our students’ sake. If I may return to my watchdog roots for a moment, someone has to watch the politicians and agencies and the occasional white collar bad guys.

And if papers go away, how will you get your comics?

One of the publishers today told the students he’s done everything in a newsroom, report, write, layout, copy editing, emptying garbage and writing the horoscope when it didn’t make it in on time.

So keep that in mind the next time you have a glance at Pisces.

Lessen’s tonight’s fortune somewhat, don’t you think?


I posted that on Facebook. A friend commented ” I got that one once. Three years later, I know my time is coming!”

Not everything you read is worth taking to heart.

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