Monday, April 26, 2004

Star Tribune's new convergence 

Hi Oysters.
Here is another strong convergence effort from the Star Tribune-it is about native teens and drinking.


Al Tompkins

Thursday, February 19, 2004

A remarkable site for you to see 

Be sure, on this first anniversary of The Station fire, that you take a tour of the remarkable Projo.com site:


I think this is an example of real excellence in content, presentation, interactivity and yes, BIG J journalism.

blogs to you all

al tompkins

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Typewriter memories 

An aging journalism professor was shuffling around the Poynter Institute earlier this week, trying to keep up with a couple of dozen of his younger colleagues attending the seminar on Convergence Journalism for College Educators. He wanted learn about this seemingly new-fangled notion of convergence. That might make him a little more relevant to his students, he thought when he applied.

Never mind that back in the sensational 60s, a roommate of his, a reporter for Marshall Field’s Chicago Sun-Times, would some days be tapped, along with other Sun-Times and Daily News reporters, to sit in the city room in front of a camera and tell viewers of Field’s WFLD television station about events he had covered.

Never mind that, for years, in AP and UPI bureaus across the country, reporters were expected to punch out copy for the news wire's every-minute deadlines, then rewrite it for a broadcast split. Or that at the beginning of the 70s, when Pete Willett became vice president of UPI’s broadcast services, he had Unipressers carrying cassette recorders so they could feed actualities to the audio department.

That is history that’s verging on the ancient, of course. But the aging gent couldn’t help thinking about it in the seminar sessions. It came to mind, especially, each time he passed Nelson Poynter’s Royal upright typewriter in an alcove off his Institute’s “great hall.” The circa-1955 machine has a gray-brown metal shell, bright green key caps and a teardrop-shaped key on the right edge of the keyboard for slapping with the side of the hand for a quick tab.

It is the same model the old guy himself had used some 40 years before when he turned out copy on the UPI national broadcast desk (the keys on the UPI machines weren’t quite as bright as the publisher’s after years of 24-hour shifts and occasional coffee spills and cigarette burns).

It is the same model he had bought used a few years later, toward the end of his graduate work, to write his dissertation.

He paused in front of the old Royal in the alcove extra-long after the lunch at which Poynter’s multimedia editor, emptied the shelves of a veritable—or is that virtual?--electronic Toys “R” Us: a Gateway tablet PC—type into it, scribble on it, talk to it, but be careful how you handle it; a combo PDA/cell phone/camera/email and IM terminal; the ITCAM, a hybrid still and video camera; and an Archos portable media device that the fellow could carry with him “all the time” to serve anytime, anywhere, as the hub he could use “to get all the stuff outside your computer, inside your computer, or at least to a CD/DVD archive disk.” And, oh, yeah, the editor said, snapping in a little box with a lens on it, plug in a camera and it’s a super camera.

The old guy reached for the Pepcid AC. What was next? A miniature washer-dryer that reporters on the road could plug into the Archos so that they’d have clean socks and underwear every day?

There was more to the seminar, of course—what reporters were doing with those gadgets to feed their stories to newspaper-cable and broadcast tv and radio station-web site combinations and, especially, what students would need to know and be able to do to enter that world (experience told him it wasn’t so new and gut told him it wasn’t so brave).

In the airplane heading home, the old guy was determined to sort out all he had heard and what it might mean for him and his students, but the woman in the window seat struck up a conversation. She was on her way to Houston to deal with a family problem, she told him. An older sister, 43, had “made some bad choices a few years ago,” and now she is a single mother with two daughters, 13 and 15, and a son, 11, and she has a drug habit that she could not or would not face up to.

The prof’s seatmate and her other sister and a brother had tried to intervene, but without success. Within the last week or so, the sister had been arrested and a judge had ordered that she could no longer have custody of the girls (the boy was in a juvenile home as an incorrigible delinquent).

The girls had lived for a time with an uncle and his wife, but that couple had three youngsters of their own, and the house was crowded, and there was friction.

The girls’ aunt and her husband, who lived in Tampa, both close to 40, had no children, and they had decided to take the girls in--if the girls wanted to live with them.
“No matter how things turn out, though, everything will be fine,” she said. “Everything will be fine.”

What a way to end that seminar, the old professor thought. As he listened to her, it occurred to him that a good journalist could mine a rich vein of stories from a short conversation like that one.

Terrible stories, wonderful stories, moving stories, important stories, still needed to be told, and they would be, he said to himself.

But if society was going to see any change for the better, they would need to have the largest possible audience. So, maybe, he thought, there really is something to this notion of cross-platformed outlets for stories told in words and pictures and sound.

And as long as good journalists are out there to tell those stories, the old gent conceded to himself, it doesn’t make helluvalot of difference how they get them out—whether on a Royal "Quiet Writer" like Nelson Poynter's or that computer guru's Archos.

Maybe everything will be fine, the old guy thought at the end of the flight as he slung his typewriter-key green Poynter briefcase over his shoulder, and he had a little spring in his step as he made his way up the jetway.

Larry Lorenz
Loyola University New Orleans

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Information overload 

What a great few days here at Poynter. The variety of speakers helped me look at ways to bring more convergence into the classroom, as well as into the newsroom. Not only did I learn from the great speakers but I learned a great deal from my fellow participants. Thanks so much for the great discussion. What an incredible learning opportunity. I'm happy to take the converged oyster back to Northwest Missouri with me.
I look forward to continued discussion and problem solving in the months to come.
Laura Widmer

Convergence equals Change 

At its core the word "convergence" means coming together. After years of separatism broadcast and print professionals from the academy and the newsroom may finally have to admit that we are all journalists. The rivalry is a smokescreen of distraction. We must unify and acknowledge that we all have an obligation to serve the public. And, we all have a commitment to the intrinsic, intangible value of journalism. (I'm working on a piece called the Value of Journalism.) Is the value monetary? From the corporate side, that appears to be the case. It isn't difficult to imagine heads of corporations saving money by cutting jobs and increasing workloads while making minimal salary increases. It isn't difficult to see the increase in the use of freelancers to avoid paying healthcare benefits. This is not a fatalistic view just one that addresses a dimension that most professionals may not address. What does this mean for the industry and for the academy?

On the flip side, the value of journalism cannot be denied. From the civil rights movement to the women's movement and even to Tiannamen Square in China, the value of telling fair and accurate stories and disseminating them to the masses is immeasurable. But is that inherent good strong enough to challenge the economic value of changing the newsgathering process?

As academicians we have a very serious responsibility to create reachable, teachable moments in time. We must, in some cases, leave academic journals behind and take the discussion to the people like news organizations are doing once again under the guise of civic journalism. We must become civic educators. The media are not explaining the proposed FCC changes to the masses in ways they can really understand. As educators, it is our job to provide substantive, informative dialogue along with critical analysis.

I can ramble on forever. Thanks for this opportunity.

Sybril Bennett, Ph.D.
Belmont University

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Homework at 1am 

(posted by Cathy Yungmann)

When's the last time I did homework at 1am? I think Johnson was president then.

Guess this Poynter thing has sucked me in. Just finished composing my ideas for diving deeper into the converged world at Cabrini College.

Course content/project coordination might be the key at a smaller college. Tie the stories of the weekly student newspaper into the assignments of the advanced video course. Have the video students observe the newspaper editors make their news decision. Have the newspaper editors watch the video students pre-produce web pieces linked to print articles. Give students who are immersed in one medium an appreciation of the inside workings of the other medium.

I still think that people with a background in video production have an easier time with implementing convergence. It becomes second nature to us how to tie together graphics, audio, video and text. Maybe that's why Keith can run around the Sentinel newsroom knowing which newspaper stories would work best as Talkbacks.

Just a thought.

Scatterblogging while jogging past jumping fish in the Bay 

Bill Davie
UL Lafayette

This blog began huffing and puffing by the marina while drawing in the inspiration of the sun over the bay and the seminar in town. Felt like a midlife crisis came when asked to quickly thumb threw the rolladex of my mind and yank out favorite "ah-hah" moments at our seminar on convergence. Kinda like a Cajun seafood buffet -- decisions...decisions.

Could not help but return once more to Poynter's Bob Haiman's illustration of yesteryear's "amphibicar" as the argument against convergence, which our online sprinter popped up the web slide of today's pricey, great granddaughter. Well, it came up again in a convergence newscast from Orlando supplying NPR with newspaper reporters' audio cuts. Destiny or Fate? Suppose that means we're already converged, then?

Another ah-hah moment came when Poynter's Gadget Guru Larry Larsen enlivened our lunch with his array of convergence toys marrying cellular devices, PCs, PVRs, and video -- all practically in the palm of your hand. Quite a shift from Bob Haiman's message the day before. But I thought not so much of what he was saying, but what he was doing:

First, Bob Haiman showed us why good storytellers always catch and hold our attention. They violate expected norms, they VEN us. Now, we're not talking about the type of violations and norms that pop stars relish at the Super Bowl or while getting "punked". He was thinking of the norm violations that inspires us
to think harder and more clearly about convergence, while wondering how we can make a difference in our students' lives. So yes, let's violate the expected norm of mediocrity and like Lake Wobegon's children, find our quest of excellence.

That's the mission tomorrow -- our last day. We meet in groups in order to write up our plans that are actionable, accountable, measureable, and make them SSS (small, specific, and scheduled).

Now, a note to our friend, Ken Fischer. Yes, Al Tompkins is doing a wonderful job of converging our herd of college cats -- not unlike the role he has played at countless other venues of this order -- a world-class MC in the center ring of this inspired circus. Time to go, he's blown the whistle!

Converged and Diverse 

Carol B. Schwalbe

Things are beginning to gel. Lillian Dunlap started off the morning with a great session that got us thinking about what kind of journalists we want our students to be—passionate and compassionate, insatiably curious, accurate, resistant to stereotypes, and much more. This might be a good thing to ask students at the beginning of the semester and see what qualities they'd list. Next, we talked about the components of excellent storytelling—immersive, well-written, focused, empowering, inclusive, consequential, and more.

Now, how do we encourage students to learn about people who aren't like them? In a Reporting class at San Francisco State, each student is assigned to a neighborhood. The first assignment is to do a demographic analysis of the neighborhood. Each of the weekly stories that follows must represent the demographics of that neighborhood.

Another way is to find the untold stories. Get to know the listening posts—laundromats, coffee shops, restaurants. Discover the universal stories of love, birth and death, family, worship.

In between sessions, we ran across the street to see the Dali Museum.

Another convergence syllabus 

This spring semester (2004) I'm teaching a graduate class about convergence. It looks mostly at the drivers behind convergence. You can find the syllabus by going to my web site (http://www.bsu.edu/web/squinn) and choosing the link to "iCOM602" under the "Courses taught spring 2004" link.
Stephen Quinn
Ball State U

Convergence syllabus at BSU 

For an example of a converged syllabus at Ball State University, go to Bob Papper's home page (http://www.bsu.edu/web/rpapper). Click on "Classes" and then choose the link to "News 201" (our introductory converged reporting class).

What students think convergence is 

Susan Keith here, weighing in from Arizona State, where the halls are quiet without Carol Schwalbe and Bill Silcock.

As I was filling in for Bill in News Problems class today, I thought about you all and what you're doing this week. So I put this extra-credit question on the news quiz: "What do the words 'media convergence' mean to you?"

Here are some of the (unedited!) responses, from students majoring in journalism, public relations, media management and media analysis and criticism:

-- "The efforts of various mediums of the media to work together & transfer & share information"

-- "What is worth being covered (mentioned) in the media. What broadcasters think is newsworthiness."

-- "Media convergence means that many different mediums of the media come together to enhance the communication of news and entertainment -- usually with technology."

-- "Media convergence means all different media converging into one form. Where we can use our TV to listen to music, watch programs, surf the Internet, etc."

-- "Media convergence means the combining of media outlets. Like The Arizona Republic Online version (combining newspapers w/ Internet)."

-- "When more than one type of media is connected to the same info. Such as the Republic being in print & also on the internet."

-- "This to mean would mean the areas of coverage different media formats would overlap on. Because of technology advances the source of media are narrowing meaning you can use on source to get all types of news. From the standpoint of user source such as internet and media outlets such as CNN."

-- "Media Convergence, to me, means media working together as well as against each other, eventually (hopefully) balancing out news."

-- "All medias working together: newspapers, magazine, radio, TV and internet (and more)"

-- "Media convergence means the effects one type of media/medium has on another."

-- "'Media convergence' refers to the combination of media appliances, such as the predicted power of HDTVs, which could be more than just a televsion in the future. There are plans to combine elements of media (illegible words) the unit such as adapting computer capabilities, radio and telephone applications to the one multi-use unit. Eventually, all forms of media could be received by a person on a device that has converged multiple media elements."

-- ''It's the entanglement of all kinds of media."

-- "Media 'combining' together -- more control for bigger companies"

-- "Media convergence means that the media works together in all aspects. Radio, TV, internent, etc., are all forms of media outputs. The media reaches the public and influences/persuades them."

-- "Media convergence is when different technologies are put together to spread media news & entertain under a bigger conglomerate. Ex: AOL Time Warner (although they're splitting)"

-- "Media convergence is the theory of all mediums (TV, radio, newspaper, Internet) working together to deliver the news."

-- "Media convergence: a conglomeration of two or more media vehicles/outlets merging or partnering to cover the same issues/area"

-- "Media convergence is when 2 types of media come together & work together. They put their knowledge together & come out with better final story."

-- "'Media Convergence' means all forms of media (TV, Newspaper, Internet) coming together as one. A great example of this is in Phoenix: Channel 12 + AZ Republic have the same owners so the two have converged to form a unity between them."

-- "It means corporatins buying up all sorts of different kinds of media and playing one off of another. It's bad."

-- "That means media are crossing each other, especially the Internet, which puts many together. I see this as a 'good thing.'"

-- "Media coverage is the information that the media believe to be important. The media often only gives part of a story."

-- "Media convergence means the coming together of different mass communication mediums. ex. AZ Republic & NBC Channel 12 News converging to form a partnership on azcentral.com"

-- "Media convergence means that previously separated, distinct media outlets are merging and working together."

-- "Media convergence: when two types of media come together to create a new whole, whether to cover a story or to create a new company."

-- "Media convergence: when two/more mediums unite."

-- "When different forms of media 'team' to cover stories"

-- "Single parent companies owning media outlets in TV, newspaper, radio industries"

-- "Media convergence means the different aspects of the media are incorporating. This is due to the media conglomerates. More production companies, television channels, and internet service providers, ect., have all been divided and split into several mergers."

-- "Media Convergence -- the belnd of present technologies in media, including internet, television, & newspaper printings working all together to help each other develop. Ex: online newspaper subscriptions."

-- "Different types of media sharing more & more characteristics. Also, growing # of media outlets owned by fewer people."

CURRICULUMS ACROSS PLATFORMS ~ The Ripple Effects~ Tea Time With Jimmy Gentry  

{What you read below was blogged by Bill Silcock, Cronkite School}

Our minds still echo from the ethics exercises Bob Steele worked us through as Jimmy Gentry wrapped up some issues and pointed us toward thinking about a new curriculum. Today's session of begins the take-home process for tomorrow. Gentry has a folksy style, friendly and very approachable. He acts/talks/walks like a colleague but knows the leadership ropes of a Deanship.


Figure out what will be your capacity. At Kanas they came up with 6,000 credit hours. Budget wise this allows for projections. Deal with the issue of capacity by figuring graduates and drop-outs.
Kansas uses model that 90% of students will get in on GPA alone. 10% get in by other factors. Kansas factors include students with professional rich experiences with portfoliios. Students of colors. All goes into the pot called other factors. An appeals committee examines this group. The criteria for appeals for clearly laid out.
Students apply in freshman year based on high grades, GPA. If GPA not over 3.0 they have to wait for first semester sophmore status.

1. Figure out the ground rules.
2. Define what you want -- example: maximum flexibility across sequences
3. Students to experience all media with a strong professional skill set.
4. Some places only do the news side cross platforms but Kansas chose to do both. Thus a PR student can take courses in the news side.
5. Where does cross platform writing belong? In the first writing class? Or is the first writing print and then goes to multi-media. How will the class be structured? Common lecture for 200 students with ten roll-out weekly labs? The issue is standardization. Each faculty member has their own lab.
Another model is USC. 3 lectures a week with Print on Monday, Broadcast on Wednesday and the Web on Friday.

KU 301 First Level class:
At Kansas they start with a broadcast writing assignment, an exercise. This is a definate choice. Only 20% of the KU students are print. Print assignments. One point write a press release, work up a press kit, develop and edit :30 radio spot and a 1:00 TV commentary with a partner. Often they work in teams.

The focus on purpose, audience and medium as a way to get kids to frame thinking. The power of symbolism is evident at KU. The person who coordinates all of this is called an Executive Producers.

More questions?
6. Who will teach these classes? Adjuncts like at USC. KU decided that a mix of teachers from each discipline is important. We sometimes stereotype our faculty based on what they are. "Your a print person you must be good with grammar." Look at the skill set and make sure there is a match.

7. How do we build skills our teachers need? Gentry paid his faculty to take cross skills training courses. A lot of things you do is symbolic. Faculty could be sent to seminars. Graduate faculty could fill in the gaps.

8. Sylabus issues. Individual or a common one? The research and writing class had to have every activity written out so the print faculty were convinced that writing was being taught.
a) to insure consistency across sections you must have something in common. Faculy have a personal resposnibility to turn out students prepared for the next higher level skill course.
b)classes belong to students. Classes do not exist in a vacum. It is the height of ego to say "this is my class."
c) Blow-up all the classes if you reach an impasse with one or two people. Start from again. Look at who is blocking you. Figure out if they can be marginalized and place in course that do not matter.
Not everybody can play or wants to play. This is a pragmatic approach.

9. Team teaching. Will you use it? Figure out models. Record keeping is tougher. In our second level class with team teaching one faculty member is in one part of the lab, while the other faculty member works the other part of the room.

10. Goals of the converged class. Teaching writing for different audiences. What kind of reporting will you have them do.

11. Most of the schools use the AP Stylebook as part of the basic class.

12. Many schools have a capstone class which wraps up the convergence experience.

13. Technology issueds. KU went from 50 to 250 students using video cameras per semester. Can you provide the lab assistants, space, software. A lot of looking at capacities to get stuff done.

14. Structural issues like schedules, lab classes.

15. Create rotations by semesters with classes based on enrollments. Make sure the students know this. Retain control of the rooms so they do not default to the University scheduling. Work with department heads to serve students and keep the rooms.

16. Assess frequently. Demonstrate progress. Start out by talking about what success will look like. Identify goals.

17. Develop new models to hire and think about faculty. Old models when someone dies or retires sequence X got the line automatically. In the new world match them. Look for new hires with more than one skills set.

18. Commonalities. Multi-media moments. Sound bites are like quotes. Wall Street Journal formula. Start out with a microcosim lead, nut graff. TV journalists employ this model. A creative work plan is like a program needs asisgnments so stragetic students see similarities to PR/Advertising.

19. Let faculty decide what sequence want to be in. Some of KU faculty go to both department meetings.

20. Teaching differences exist. Print faculty walk around in labs looking over shoulders. Broadcast faculty operate on the outward bound model. Go forth and come back and show what you shot.
This has caused interesting conversations among faculty. Print faculty argue the student must be in the lab. Broadcasters say send them out.

1) You don't have to be a dean. A KU faculty member, Rick, teaches print and decided one day to have his students learn how to do stand-ups.
2) It only takes two to start thinking/doing/showing how cross platform reporting can work at your school.
3) Return from this seminar and select some slides from various Powerpoint presentations. Pick and choose and select whose appetite to wet.
4) Bring in speakers who are recent graduates doing this cool stuff.
Sometimes this can touch older faculty who resist convergence.
5) Use students at your school now to show off their stuff.

Newsplex newsgear 


COACHING FOR COMPETENCE AND CONFIDENCE IN CONVERGENCE: Two Ethical Case Studies - Teaching the Tough Calls.  

[Blogged below by Bill Silcock]

Bob Steele, Poynter's High Priest of Ethic's, worked us through ethics two ways. First doing it, second teaching it. Kelly McBride, a Poynter faculty member whose expertise includes the coverage of religion joined him. We wrestled with two case studies and then talked about it with implications for teaching. Before the first case study Bob jump started us with some question.

Headlines as we began: "What are something ethical pressure points in a converged world?"
Speed kills.
Intellectual property. "You can rip anyone off and do anything with it."
Who do you believe?
Fewer voices. "Now all one news outside diminished ranger of views."
Digital media easy to manipulate.
Culture conflicts between print/broadcast.
Who is a journalist?
Newsmmercials. (commercials and news).

Case Study:
Newspaper editor wants help to think through a tough call.
Scenario: Like every Catholic discease in country we have covered Priests accused of abuse. Local area - 8 Priests dimissed. 8 deceased who are confirmed to have molested children. We sent a reporter to cover our Bishop and his input at National Conference on new regulations. We have fulltime religion reporter.

Morning press conference called by local attonrey who represents several victims. Flamboyant but good source of information. He revealed 2 suciides notes of a man who took his life 25 years ago. Notes found by brother inside the house of his mother who recently died. This man in the note said he had a relationship when he was young. 2 notes. One signed. One not. All the local media were there. Our web site wants to get something up right away. We often exchange with the local NPR station. Bishop's stance says Catholic Church needs a policy. One of only Bishop's too argue that a one time indescrition be forgiven.

Competiting Values in the above case:
Being first, being right.
Fairness of those accused of wrong doing.
Public safety --protecting from harm.
Independence - are we being used by the brother/attorney
Speed kills - Once you put it out there, you can not take it back.

"I am more worried about harming the Bishop then suing him for libel. I am worried about doing the right thing for this man's reputation. I do not see this as a criminal allegation. We do have an entry about personal attacks. Normally we do not print one source, personal attacks."

What is the relationship between paper/web/tv station? Editor does not fully trust her convergence partners.

Balance is often a loaded term -- an "either or". When you ask who the stakeholders are it quickly becomes more than just an either or.

More and more questions need to be asked before a decision is made.

Ethics is not just about what you put in paper or on-line but about your process. More lawsuits filed over process than product.

A second side bar story to be put in context was an important element the Editor thought needed to be in their coverage.

Al Thompkins pointed out to the group through asking more questions that enough information was not available. What do I know, what do I need to know, what are the values?
Through more questions by the seminar participants
the "editor" revealed that the reporter was Catholic and was concerned the story could jeopardize her sourcing connection with the

Paper ran a story in the middle of Metro page, not out front. Tried to do a lot of context , about discese and national scene.
Bishop held his press conference and denied ever even knowing this man. Stated that he has never had sex with anyone ever. Very adamant, straight forward.
Next afternoon, attorney held a second press conference with a man.
A 40 year old man, former street kid appeared with and said the Priest solicited sex in park. He said he saw the TV coverage and recognized he was the man he had sex with.

Challenges facing Day Two of coverage:
" I have limited reporters but I an medium sized. I could assign six reporters and try to find the truth. But the sucide is 25 years old so what story will be left behind. We could investigate whether the two ever could have known each other. We could look for evidence that would co-oberate the details of the story that are emerging.
We could use our partners but is this the best test case to try out our relationship?"

The second day the the religion reporter was conflicted. She knew the story needed more resources but she was with her family.
The editor worries we are going to get into a pattern of printing information and saying we have no responibility for that. We may legally be resolved of libel but in the eyes of our readers we could undermine our credibility. The editor is concerned that the newspaper's name is on a web site and the TV.
On-line the discussion list is being taken over by people all over the country who are victims. Letters to editor evenly on either side. TV sides newsroom reaction is not known to me.

-help students understand differences between professional values (cost containment, respect for colleagues) vrs moral values .
(compassion, knowledge) before they are introduced to the case.
- The reverse role play. Split students up so print students can talk about it for 20 minutes but on-line has a faster deadline. Then put print people in the broadcast time box.
--Teach this on-line, to query the database. It becomes an on-line case study.

Bob Steele's summary:

Push to the level of reflection and religion. Asked the students what was guiding you. Listen to your gut, but do not always trust it.
Stakeholders need to be listed during a discussion of an ethics issue so some are not forgotten. "That is such an important skill. This will serve your students no matter what they do, PR, Chemical rep. Learning how to list stakeholders and weigh the stakes is a vital skill."
added in Al Thompkins. Bob shared that these "voices at the table" might make it harder, but always makes it better. In Denver, Bob was in there not long after Benet Ramsey case and filled up nearly 3 flipchart pages full of stakeholders. Al note it often is hard for the journalists to recognize that the station is also a stakeholder. It needs to be placed on paper.

Bob Steele added: "You accept the cost that goes with covering fair stories. Sometimes you loose sources but many times new sources come out of the woodwork because they have a higher.

JoAnn Bird, (Washington Post ombudsman) combines stakeholders with the notions of alternatives. Recognize you might have to do something that minimizes the negative consequences to those stakeholders. It could be the tone of the story."

The session ended with a TV example of a tough call by a Denver TV station. At the end of basketball game with the Nuggets a photographer catches the coach-Dan Issel - yelling up at the crowd- "Go drink another beer you Mexican piece of shit." The challenge is you have this video at 9:30 with a 10pm newscast. You have a website and a morning newspaper.
{end result was the TV station aired the bite, the NBA suspended him and eventually the coach never came back. The bite was his last in his professional life.}

How do you teach this case? What are the ethical pressure points.

Stakeholders -coach,web site, newspaper,TV station,the producer,the GM, the ND, fan,fans in general, family of target fan, coaches family,the Latino comunnity, nationwide Latino community, competition who doesn't have video

Alternatives - run it or not

We could have the students play the roles of the stake holders. Be sensitive to who plays what. An example of a Moot Court.

--The case study could include not using the word "Mexican" at first but introduce it later
-- What happens if the video was not shot by a camera operator but a fan.
-- Have a handout so the student knows how to play the role of the stakeholder they will represent
--Teach the importance of what other voices in the decision making needs to be considered
--Change the minorities involved
--Are standards different in sports departments vs news departments

Keith Wheeler reminded the stake holders include the family and friends of the coaches kids family.

Bob Steele's summary began two key question:

What does the public need to know and when do they need to know it?
The better we are in ethical decision making gives us the competnence and the confidence to go into the deep water. We know where the quicksand is and not asked what am i goingto do now.
we have these sharp tools to do what a journalist does.
we may wait, withhold but those should ebthe rarer of tiems.
our reall job is to give them subsitiance inforamtion.

Secondly, there are rights and wrongs. Ethics is about right and wrong. The challenge it is about multip rights and wrongs.

Thirdly, the process is as important as a project in decision making.
Put great weight on what you do in terms of shrpen their skils.
Reists giving them a handbook full of rules. Standards and practices are important to put down. Don't leave them with "this is rule on confidenaltiy or suciide." If you do the students will get trapped.
The rule will come up against a boss who says bulls--- do it anyway.
If they can not ask good questions of the boss they will get trapped.

"Anchor the process of decision making in the principles. The most important thing we can do is ask good questions."

Take aways were handed out designed over the years by Bob. He also pointed us to Ed Lambeth's (Missouri retired ethical faculty) book "Committed Journalism."

Al Thompkins finished up with an emphasis on having the tools heard over and over by our students. Tools like "stakeholders", "gut reactions", etc. should begun to be used by them in the class.

" When you go through the ethical skill building the better you are the more agressive reporting can become. You do not hold back. The more we got information, the more we could figure out how to pursue the story."

Lillian Dunlap added we should model behavior in our lives.

NewsGear 2004 

Here is a link to information about Ifra's NewsGear 2004 and related stuff about newsgathering technology: http://www.ifra.com/WebSite/ifra.nsf/html/cont_newsops

Also see the Handspring site for stuff about the new Treo 600 (which is much more expensive than the Sidekick but has more toys): http://www.handspring.com/products/communicators/treo600_overview.jhtml

This is fun!
Stephen Quinn

CONVERGENCE CAN MAKE MONEY - "I don't need a super reporter, I have a super staff". Radio/Newspaper convergence example. Teaching the "talkback" 

Keith Wheeler, Deputy Managing Editor of Multimedia for the Orlando Sentinal, lead this session. "He cleared his crammed scheduled to join the week long group," Al Thompkins explained as he introduced Keith as a type of managing editor. Keith works between platforms at the Orlando Sentinel. Al says Keith's charge for this session was to share not only how to make dollars but make journalism gets done.

Background: Orlando has one newspaper. The Orlando Sentinental converged in the past with Channel 13 a local area cable channel. Now they have a partnership link with WESH. Also have Spanish language partnerships. Tribune's counterparts in South Florida include a local radio station.

Keith runs a "middle" group lead by a production manager. "Everybody except one person use to work for a TV station," Keith explained. Seven employees,all cross trained (all can edit). 1 still photog, 1 video editor, 1 graphics editor, and three producers. Many of these multi-task. One shooter now produces a golf tip segment for the 24-hour news channel. He also uses 4 free lance photographers. The Orlando Sentinel print reporters pass the stories off. "I do not need a super reporter, I have a super staff," Keith suggested.

A conversation thread erupted while waiting for a technical hookup for a live phone call-in for this session. Al asked, "Will consumer reaction limit the spread of convergence?" Some Tampa research indicates uncomfortableness on the part of readers/listeners/viewers with these parternships. Discussion about the silencing of certain voices that convergence might

Glitch fixed, next, Keith piped into the session by "live" phone Dave Blackwell, senior ediutor of the Sun Sentinel. Any content produced for electornic distribution by the Sun Sentinental routes to him. Five years ago the newspaper entered the radio business. Local news department for NPR affiliate WXEL. Fall 2003 new all news station opened up. "We are their local reporting core," Dave explained.

The bulk of the audio for the radio is gathered by print reporters. The reporters voices are used on-air on the NPR partnership but less so on the commercial station.

"We did some radio voice training until they reached a level where we felt they would work, " Dave explained. A different sound for public radio --a regular Joe -- is acceptable. Succes measured by the ratings. "The NRP station is not in commercial ratings pool, so it is hard to say, but membership is increased." Dave's first job was in radio, then a tv career, then back to radio. "Our radio news editor is a former ND of Florida Public radio." The NPR affiliate pays us what they would pay for a local news person.

Does all of this conflict with the print person's news routine?
"They take care of what they need for their print story first before getting radio comments. We do not want to deny entry to any story."
"Bulk of the writing is wrttien by the broadcast copy. But some print reporters enjoy writing radio copy."

Dave is willing to chat about what he does. He can be reached at:

Carol Schwalbe, Arizona State, asked what qualities prepare students for this kind of job? Dave answered:
"Skills wanted would be strong reporting and announcing skills. Willingness to adapt to a non-traditional work environment."

Take home idea for teachers: Teach the talkback.
"The biggest thing we do is the talkback. If you can teach them how to write a talkback. Intro for the anchor, write 3 or 4 questions, ask if the flow of the questions is good, and then ask if you want to ad a question. I put a tag on it. It drives them to the paper. The whole thing runs 2:00.

As he wrapped up, Keith summarzied:

"My toughest job was PR.(with the print staff). In 1997 the editor of the newspaper told reporters they did not have to do this. Now with a new editor everybody has a multi-media component written into their evaluations. I am a former news director so I can tell people how to do broadcast training and stand-ups. I am nuturing these people. I am not making the print reporters do anything they do not want to do."

"My job is safe as long as I keep generating revenue."

Forced to define convergenced Keith stated:
"My job is to get as much stuff from that newspaper to our media partners as possible."

Detroit Free Press 

100 questions and answers about Arab Americans: A Journalist's Guide.


News Watch is a project of the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism of the San Francisco State University Journalism Department.

Our mission is:
  • to promote healthy candid dialogue among journalists regarding coverage of people of color, lesbians and gays, and other communities which have been the victim of biased reporting or ignored by the news media to examine both good and bad coverage in ways that help us learn lessons
  • to seek out or develop resources which will help all journalists do a better job at covering our complex, diverse world.
  • So Many Voices - Converged and Diverge - Barry White Remembered on a Mexican Altar 

    A teaching tool Lillian Dunlap [formerly on the Poynter faculty now with Strategic Insights] shared today focused on dying tongues. A website from a Fargo, N.D. newspaper that in the classroom allows the teacher to keep talking about languages and be inclusive. www.in-forum.com/specials/DyingTongues/.

    Why do we hear about people who are diverse only when it is celebration time? "If you are going to do the holiday, then DO the holiday," Lillian urged. Black History month. Chinese New Year. But do we know any more? Do we ask questions. A good site to help students get beyond these tribute days that become stereotyped is Dia De Los Muertos -- Day of the Dead -- a Mexican special day. The site is at www.azcentral.com

    The site shows an altar created in tribute to Barry White. Site has cool video clips with someone explaining about the process in preparing the altar site. A photograph of the deceased Black soul singer was surrounded by connecting items as a tribute. Strawberries and cream, nestled next to candles since White , for one worshipper, personified love and romance. A styleguide link can be found on the site. It is a glossary with the Spanish term associated with Dia de Los Muertos.

    Al Thompkins observed how "under leveraged" college students seem to be. "They are still the other." On campus exist a variety of places to help students discover the other.

    Lillian passed out a Poynter think paper called "A Complete Picture." Key points: Inclusion. Covering the undercovered. Mitigating bias and prejudice.
    Inclusion includes those 1) left out of the news 2)show thier ordinaryiness
    Covering Uncovered includes 1)Find the untold stories 2)getting to know the "listening posts". Students MUST leave the campus. Go places they do not ordinary go. Urge students to try a different route on their way to work. A key tip might be for the teacher to go to the listening post first so you understand what the students might expect. 3)Discover the universal stories. Home,heart, health and pocketbook. Like languages these stories resonant.
    Mitigating Bias and Prejudice. 1)Avoid euphemims and sterotypes. Do students know the distinctions betweens Latinos and Hispanics? These clutter stortelling. 2)Examine the framing of stories for bias. Carol Simpson discovered all of ABC's crime file footage was African American men. Ask the NEXT question.

    Dale Cressman, BYU, shared how recently his Muslim students helped him and Mormon conversative students understand the context of recent news. Laura Ruel, University of Denver, asked how do we have students of color or from diverse backgrounds share so others can learn without these students feeling singled out.

    Lillian suggested one way is the regularly have it as part of what you are doing. Avoid the spotlight but let the light always be on. It will be baby steps. But the class will finally understand you as a professor acknowledge the diverse sources of the world.

    The above list is not OR OR OR but AND AND AND.

    Many points of entry help the students hear and recognize "divergent voices." Tools include: Lectures, ada policy stateents, guest lecturers,issues,images.

    Bill Silcock, ASU

    Monday, February 09, 2004

    E-Media Tidbit post 

    Hello fellow workshop colleagues!
    Just want to let you know that I posted an item about our workshops (and this space) on E-media tidbits, http://poynter.org/tidbits. Check it out, and feel free to add your comments there as well.
    Laura Ruel

    BOATS AGAINST THE CURRENT - what's in a name anyway?  

    Day two by the fascinating private boats lined up waterside not far from Poynter's temple. Cool names. Curious colors. A favorite childhood experience looking at all the odd names people give boats bobbled in my mind during today's sessions. Names and what things are called came up many times today. Example: Andrew DeVigal showed amazing multi-media sites and spoke of those who created them as an Executive Producers. Or should they be called Project Managers ("sounds too corporate") Creative Director? USC's NEwsplex has a cool name Doug Fisher shared - "Storybuilder." I like that name. Strong. Sturdy. Rugged. Like a good boat.

    Far away from the ocean, back home in the desert of Tempe our faculty (Cronkite School - ASU) wrestled all autumn with the term "producer" which meant something different to broadcast news folks and production faculty. Our patient print faculty finally got the differences but now if I bring back yet another name to associate with the word producer will that be too much?

    At lunch Bob Haiman, the big Poynter boss, told the story of the amphibian car that flopped in the early 60's. With punch and humor he raised critical concerns about convergence -- that marketing replaces journalism in this corporate culture. People didn't want a car/ boat -- it did different things. Hybrids often are not as good as the originals. "You should worry about newsrooms staffs that try to boat/cars". Yet, 5 minutes later back in the classroom after lunch Andrew shows us a 2003 Time magazine website story about the boat car. But Al Tompkins pointed out you can create hybrids that do work. "It is a false to think something can not have a function beyond one function. Many devices work quite well in dual mode. My PDA and my address book. My computer is both a word processor and an internet connection. There are RVs that can be driven and slept in. The idea that you can not have a device that does boat."

    Old ideas. New ideas. New boats. Old ships.

    Did Bob get it wrong? Doesn't matter. What is important -- as Howard Finberg pointed out in the closing minutes of our wrap up-- think of the speed with which Andy was able to show us the Time story from the web and thus get us to nearly instantly question/ponder/re-think/wonder/consider/evaluate Bob's big point.

    I leave tonight heading for more seafood resturants and wonder. Am I the only one on this boat who hated the tiger story -- used to illustrate the similarity between still and video pictures in an excellent dicussion by Kenny Irby-- since it focused entirely on saving a zoo tiger who bit a 7 year old girl (visually creating much sympathy for the animal) and yet failing to provide any balance for the WHY part of the story. Kill the animal to see if it has rabbies and save the girl.

    The visuals overwhelmed the editorial balance. It is like the waves starting to rock the boat but people seem so confident it is seaworthy and won't sink.

    Perspectives change hourly? Was Bob right? Is convergence only a coverup for newspapers trying to save their dying industry? What examples of television embracing of newspaper because it makes good business sense have we seen. Do I believe in convergence? Do I dis it? What is it? Too big a word -- Queen Maryish -- for this litte harbor.

    Boz Scaggs sings a cut from his old LP "Harbor Lights" mirroring the lavendar sunsetting mood. Lingering dinner questions but now it is too calm and too quiet for any answers. Still Waters Run Deep --the Four Tops sang it about love in 1970 but the answer applies to revelations about convergence in 2004.



    By Carol B. Schwalbe

    My head is spinning with many, many ideas. Blogging helps distill the more important ones. As Jimmy Gentry pointed out today, we need to cherry-pick the best ideas—just as good journalists do. The goal of this workshop is not to force us into convergence (it's better not to do it than to do it poorly). The goal, rather, is to produce better journalists—journalists who are both creative thinkers and critical thinkers. Each school needs to decide what it wants to do so far as convergence goes.

    Jimmy Gentry explained how process and values are key to restructuring the curriculum. When he took over as dean at KU in 1997, he created a Values Committee first, followed by a SWOT Team and a Culture Committee. KU ended up embracing convergence. All students take Media and Society, First Amendment Society, Media Ethics, and Research and Writing Across Media. Rather than writing five obits or seven fire stories, students learn how to identify the purpose (what?), audience (who?), and medium (how?), then they decide how best to write the story.

    Janet Weaver, the new dean of the Poynter faculty, gave us the employer's perspective on convergence. (She was executive editor of the "Sarasota Herald-Tribune," a.k.a. the czarina of the newsroom, website, and TV station.) So . . . what do newsrooms want from our students? She reiterated the theme that students don't have to be able to do everything; in her opinion, it's better to be a specialist than a jack/jill of all trades.

    In terms of practical skills, Janet looks for someone who knows how to find info (CAR, public records, etc.), how to interview (not just read a list of questions), how to develop a story, how to think visually, and how to write a story clearly, concisely, accurately, and quickly. Philosophically, she values a new hire who understands the strengths of each medium, focuses on excellence, and talks about the "community's story" rather than "my story" or "our story" (we're talking teamwork here, folks). In terms of behavior, she wants someone who embraces the spirit of teamwork, is open to learning, and respects other platforms and other ways of storytelling.

    Bob Haiman played devil's advocate. Are we on a collision course—the standards of journalism vs. the entertainment value of TV vs. the anarchist values of the Web? Do reporters have enough time to do in-depth, reflective reporting if their days are broken up by Web and TV commitments? Can journalists do quality work and still be converged? Can we keep journalism standards and values high in a converged world? Content is king, not technology. Journalism schools need to focus on the traditional skills of reporting, writing, editing, research techniques, ethics, and specialized knowledge such as photography. In addition, students should be content experts in another field and also understand how America works.

    That's enough to think about for today. Let's go eat!


    Mary Rogus, Ohio University

    It would be easy to say today was information overload.. but as I think back over the sessions, there was a consistant message--good journalism, no matter the platform(s) is about giving people what they need and want to know through good storytelling. Convergence, however you define it, has great potential to do that, but only with the recognition that each medium tells certain stories well and the combination of media may be the best way to meet our mission.

    I was struck by what Janet Weaver, former Executive Editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Six News Now, a 24 hour television cable news operation, said about story ownership. She said one key to making broadcast, online and newspaper journalists work toward the goal of providing the best possible story coverage was getting folks to stop talking about "MY" story, and even "OUR" story. Instead it's the community's story, which is in their care. As long as one thinks of the story as belonging to the community, then part of taking care of that story is ensuring that the resources which will best disseminate that story are the ones that get the focus, and get the story first.

    A community focus forces a shift away from all the turf battles and culture clashes among media and takes you back to the heart of journalism--the story. Likewise we heard from Jimmy Gentry about the major changes at the University of Kansas. Again one of the keys to success was starting with a determination of core values. The first of those values is "A diverse, collaborative and dynamic STUDENT-CENTERED environment." With "student-centered" as a key component, again the turf battles and culture clashes are forced aside.

    It's been a great day for big ideas and interesting details. Time to get out and watch the sunset, and let it all sink in!

    Sunday, February 08, 2004

    Step Children & Crazed Managers 

    by Ken Fischer, SIU

    A special thanks to my BEA colleagues in including me on the blog. Sorry I'm not there in Florida with you. Does Al run the meetings the same way he emcees the RTNDA Educator's breakfast??

    Seriously folks, I hope you explore some crucial issues this week. I've been concerned about several aspects of convergence. They include: 1) Is it really possible for most journalists to become proficent in several mediums? 2) Is one of the mediums always going to end up a step child to the others...i.e. radio to TV and the web being no more than a place to post the same exact stories already done on TV or radio or in print? and 3) How many managers have truly examined the implications convergence can have on editorial policy, operations and training?

    Those are my thoughts. Enjoy Florida. I will be down there spring break to take in Disney World and a couple of ball games. Thanks again for including me.


    By Bill Silcock, ASU

    Imagine having a moment of epiphany with a stomach full of gulf shrimp. It happened tonight during the second session of the just begun 4 -day seminar. For a few hours we'd stuffed ourselves with food and foreboding thoughts. Should we be shoving convergence down our students throats? If we run away from the table will we be left out of all future feasts? What is the future of journalism in a converged environment? What do our students need to know. What do they want to know?

    I post my first blog. Here by the St. Petersburg, Florida sea side journalism think tank - Poynter Institute - I've gathered with incredibly smart faculty colleagues from Poynter and around the world, literally! A new colleague is from Australia. Big questions -- are we here to be "converted" to convergence or wrestle with tough questions about what is best for our students?

    Back to the epiphany. It came during a presentation by Howard Finberg. As you read this in the web environment (someday on e-paper) it won't have the "feel" of the laptop experience. Think of scenes from the flicks Blade Runner or Minority Report. During Howard's Powerpoint driven discussion about the future of news (he wisely morphed from the assigned topic the future of the newspaper) it hit me. We need to prepare students for a news world that is "Always on."

    In the past, teaching students how to cover live, local and late-breaking news, there was always a sense of time. Shrinking true, but still some time could be carved out of the news routine to focus and think. Run a quick Sislea Bok ethic's test. Review the stakeholders. That may not be possible in the new converged world. Time won't shrink. It won't really exist segmented, clocked and departmentalized like it is now. News will always be on.

    What is news? THat old question will get redefined again and again. Only now there truly will be no right answer. It will be as vast as the individuals who setup the e-paper to know what they want to know about

    So much will be possible and yet I worry most about what will be left behind. Whose voice will be silenced? What metaworld will be ignored? It is like a wrestling match going on in my mind.
    I am about to be pinned by the future and I can't breathe.

    Who is on my tag team?


    by Dale Cressman, BYU

    Judging from our first day, Poynter is everything I imagined it would be -- a little slice of journalism heaven. It's great to be surrounded by passionate journalism educators, and such terribly bright and creative people. Thank you, Nelson Poynter!

    Before arriving I was somewhat afraid that this would be too much of a pep rally for convergence. Personally, I am somewhat ambivalent about the idea of convergence: in some ways I fear that it is hurting journalism more than anything. But my fears appear to have been unfounded. Al Tompkins, the seminar leader, tells us that we'll be looking at the good and the bad. He said that, if done right for the right reasons, convergence can be good for journalism. However, it's not for everyone and it would be better for a school to not do it than to do it badly.

    Some real eye openers tonight on how people are using the web and other media. Bottom line is this: some sort of multimedia journalism is going to take hold, whether we're ready for it or not. We should be delivering the news in a way readers and viewers -- particularly the young ones -- in a way they want it WITHOUT compromising journalistic values. We're here to figure out how.

    This promises to be an exciting week -- a kind of "Woodbadge" for journalism educators.


    Mary Rogus, Ohio University
    Wow!! Listening to 20 somethings talk about their vision of the newspaper of the future, I feel 100 years old instead of 43! They want it customized, relevant and very interactive.. Two young guys envisioned a social security story that explains the impact in terms of your own income and includes "pop-up" recommendations/comments from your friends, quotes from sources you like and trust, and offers additional information customized to your reading habits--and then provides options for you to react to the story. They can conceive of how it works and how they'd use it.

    Does this make journalists obsolete? If everyone creates their own news just for them, where are the editors? Where's the balance? Where's the healthy skepticism? Where's the broad perspective? I preach relevance daily in the classroom, but is there such a thing as too much relevance?


    by Bill Davie, Univ of Louisiana at Lafayette

    Our first night of lectures had the sudden ring of an alarm clock for those who have yet to reckon on the world of new media. In terms of a top-ten list, E-MAIL RULES, but what happened to newspapers?! Poynter Institute's Howard Finberg speaking at the Convergence for Educators Seminar played the role of David Letterman and gave us our "top-ten list" for the night
    How would you rank your favorite online activities?

    1. "Received and sent e-mail," says Finberg's powerpoint slide of Jupiter Research.
    Take heart, those happy venturers for treasure troves of data also have been felt.
    2. "Used a search engine such as Yahoo!, or Excite, NetCenter or Lycos to search for Web sites, online communities or information."
    Ever tried to find more about a hot new item before shelling out the bucks? What was it? A vacation? Camera? Book or CD? That was the third choice for web surfers.
    3. "Researched products and services"
    What about finding your road map to a dream spot, or a nice place to dine out?
    4. "Gathered information on local events, restaurants, maps or traffic"
    Wait a minute -- no one has said anything about scanning the headlines for news -- Isn't that what this new online world supposed to be about? Well, not exactly. It doesn't show up until right after our web viewers place their bets in their favorite contests or sweepstakes.
    5. "Participated in contests or sweepstakes"
    6. "Used the Internet to get the daily news"
    Online chatting has become big enough to reach number seven of Internet activities with the help of all of the "IMMing" services.
    7. "Used AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger," or similar instant message services.
    Have you received a nice birthday card lately or Christmas greeting?
    8. "Sent electronic greeting/post cards"
    Are you paying your monthly rent and utility bills online now?
    9. "Viewed a bill or statements online"
    Even though it might send newspaper editors to the medicine drawer, or online editors to happy hour early, they're batting number ten on this lineup.
    10. "Visited the web site or online versiona of a newspaper"
    Okay, survey research is at best a temporary snapshot of our world, and the good news -- at least for newspapers -- is that the online world is a fast-moving picture.


    By Carol B. Schwalbe, ASU

    We've been in St. Pete for a day now attending Poynter's first convergence seminar for journalism educators. The building is gorgeous, the faculty is fabulous. The temperature is chilly (50s) for us Arizonans.

    One great idea is to set up a student advisory committee comprised of the heads of the student journalism organizations (PRSSA, SPJ, etc.) on campus. This committee would meet with the director and interested faculty several times a semester and provide feedback on curriculum changes, convergence, and so forth. A professional advisory committee comprised of alums could also serve as a sounding board.

    Now, here's a question: What medium can you change by consuming it? Two young ones—a Poynter fellow and an online producer—challenged us with this question. What do you think?

    Their answer: online multiplayer games, which are even bigger these days than movies. The youngsters painted a scenario of a 31-year-old woman reading an electronic newspaper in 2009. The lead story on Social Security taxes reports that a new law will reduce her taxes by $129 a month. That's because the reporter who wrote the story included a formula that calcuates our reader's tax savings (based on her profile). She can also read comments from her Congresswoman about this new law. And that's because the reporter collected quotes from representatives in the paper's coverage area. This story popped up on her home page thanks to a friend's recommendation. There's even a quote from one of her favorite economists. Our reader can rate the story, send it to a friend, and rank it.

    Think of what newspapers of the future could do with customizing other things, such as obituaries, classified ads (find a car or a career), and the police blotter.

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