Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Which Part of the Word Are You Focused On?

'I've come to believe there are basically two types of newspaper publishers: those who think the most important part of the word newspaper is "news" and those who think the most important part of that word is "paper." If you work for a publisher or a company that thinks "paper" is the most important part of that word, then my suggestion would be to get your resume ready.'
--from an essay by Rob Curley in The Journalist, an annual publication of the Society of Professional Journalists. Young Mr. Curley is a nationally known guru on the subject of how newspapers can better leverage the web. Last year, he visited Kent State University's J-School with his message, and apparently left the faculty feeling a tad insecure (at least judging by this account in a now-dormant faculty blog).
UPDATE: This newish piece by Kent State journalism prof Karl Idsvoog in Harvard's excellent Nieman Reports publication does provide at least a sliver of hope about the Kent Journalism School. Karl emceed a panel discussion about blogging held at the school a couple of years ago, in which I took part. Because he seemed then to be interested mostly in reducing everything to the most simplistic soundbite, he struck me that day as the faculty crank--every faculty has at least one--a refugee from TV "news" whose effect on impressionable young minds caused me to gulp a little at the very thought of it. But perhaps I was wrong. I certainly hope so, and of course it wouldn't be the first time my initial impression of someone was dead wrong, though I also try not to make a habit of it.


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