It’s the time of year when university campuses around the country start to shake off the summer slow-mo. As the first day of classes approaches, I’ve been thinking about what I plan on saying to my journalism students about this extraordinary period in our country’s life, and how that impacts their future as journalists.
Journalism models are changing rapidly. But don’t make the mistake of thinking the craft is dying, says media veteran Mark Effron. At J-schools, students demonstrate the “desire to find out what’s really going on,” and the fact they are anxious “to communicate that through vivid language and strong images, gives me hope for their future, and the future of journalism.”
So many of the fundamental media bedrocks appear to be crumbling, while what’s rising up sometimes feels alien. Then there are other countervailing trends, which seem to fight the idea that everything is changing. So how do you think about all of this? How do you synthesize what you know from firsthand experience and impart that without sounding like Gutenberg bemoaning paperbacks? Here are a few suggestions.
TV-news-exec-turned-college-professor Mark Effron asked his students what media they used in the past 24 hours. You can imagine what was on the list. Media consumed: Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, movies and series on Netflix, Google and an occasional news site like CNN.com. Devices: Smartphones (overwhelmingly), tablets, some laptops, an occasional Xbox. Missing in action: television.
Veteran TV journalist Mark Effron spells out the characteristics news directors should be looking for when adding to their anchor desks. Some of these attributes date back to Walter Cronkite, but others are as new as the latest social media app.
Many factors contribute to success at local news operations. Each of my positions over the years afforded me the opportunity to look at content and presentation and distribution through a changing series of lenses. This period also coincided with the tsunami disruptions to mainstream media, especially the birth and growth of social. Here’s a baker’s dozen of suggestions gleaned from life lessons over the years.
After 18 months at the Tribune station, the veteran news executive confirms that he will be stepping down at the end of October.
The television and radio news veteran joins Tribune’s New York CW affiliate on April 17.