Fall ’11 – Welcome

Welcome to the class blog for Journalism 61, section 1, which meets M/W 10:30-11:45 a.m. in DBH 222 at SJSU.

For the past few years I’ve taught Jour61 as a fully online class, but this fall it’ll be “on ground” and in person. You may notice I’m still making some changes to this blog to update it for the fall semester. I’ll be getting the kinks worked out over the next week or so.

See you soon!

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Blog on hiatus

I’m not teaching Journalism 61 this semester, so this blog is currently on hiatus. However, I am scheduled to teach this online class again in the spring.

In the meantime, feel free to use this blog’s resources. Please note, however, that links to most assignments and some resources no longer work because of recent changes to the JMC web server where they used to reside. I will be updating these links over winter break.

More bad news

The bad news for the newspaper industry just keeps coming:

A recent article in Advertising Age points to one big reason for these layoffs:

Newspaper ad revenue fell almost $2 billion in the third quarter for a record 18.1% decline, according to new statistics from the Newspaper Association of America. What’s worse, newspapers’ online ad revenue fell for the second quarter in a row.

The historic drop resulted from a worsening economy that sharply exacerbated long-term challenges already confronting the newspaper industry, and it affected all kinds of newspaper ads. National ad sales fell 18.4%, classifieds sank 30.9%, and the biggest category, retail, slid 11.7%. Newspapers’ online ad sales, where everyone is hoping some part of the future business model resides, accelerated their decline with a 3% drop. Online ad sales slipped 2.4% in the second quarter.

This fall’s financial collapse affected only some part of the latest results. However, the rest of the year is likely to look even worse.

The bad news for newspapers has been accompanied by bad news for broadcasters as well. A recent New York Times article, A Generation of Local TV Anchors Is Signing Off, noted:

Across the country, longtime local TV anchors are a dying breed. Facing an economic slump and a severe advertising downturn, many stations have cut costs drastically in the last year, and veteran anchors, with their expensive contracts, seem to be shouldering a disproportionate share of the cutbacks. When station managers are forced to make cuts, hefty anchor salaries are a tempting target.

A drop in advertising revenues is also behind these cuts. The NYT article also notes:

Advertising is falling sharply, partly because of cutbacks in spending by automakers and car dealerships, which represent the single largest category of advertiser for broadcasters.

Of course, someone has to replace those veteran news anchors who are being laid off. As second-tier anchors move up the chain and leave open slots behind them, this may create some openings for more recent grads.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Why we blog

Worried that the Internet and bloggers are crowding out newspapers, journalism and real journalists? (Who isn’t!) A recent blog post on reportr.net, titled How blogging creates new opportunities for journalists, offers a different perspective.

Blogger Scott Elliott, Dayton Daily NewsIn this post, Scott Elliott, an education reporter and blogger with the Dayton Daily News, tells how blogging opened up new opportunities for him…including his current role as a newspaper columnist.

“Tomorrow’s journalist will simply have to be comfortable writing online,” Elliott says, “and blogging is the best training there is for this writing style.”

He also quotes what John Robinson, editor of the Greensboro (N.C.) News-Record, had to say on his blog about hiring journalists today:

‘I ask job applicants if they have a blog. Most of them don’t. Then I ask them if they read my blog. About half of them haven’t.

‘The two questions tell me a lot about the candidates. First, if they have a blog, it gives me an indication of their passion for writing and communicating. It also allows me to see how their unedited writing reads. I rarely pay attention to submitted clips; I know how good editing can make a mediocre writer appear positively Halberstamian. Finally, in answering the question, they usually let on what they think of blogging and digital. Believe it, some trash blogs.

‘Second, if they haven’t read my blog, it tells me they haven’t done their homework. That makes the candidate a non-starter.

‘Actually, it helps winnow down the candidates pretty quickly.’

Elliott concludes: “If you’re a journalist and you are not comfortable writing for an online audience, you had better start getting there fast.”

I agree. That’s the main reason we use blogs for this class…well, that and the fact that they’re free. That also helps.

In the same vein, you might also want to read Promote yourself well, or fail, a recent post by Mindy McAdams, who teaches (and blogs about) online journalism at the University of Florida. If you do, be sure to check out her “wake-up call lecture” link, which offers some timely tips on presenting yourself online.