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February Cruel Month: More Newspaper Chaos

The first paragraph of The New York Times’ analysis reads:

For newspapers, February was the cruelest month. So far.

Ad revenues were down everywhere, much of it still draining out to places like craigslist. Some analysts were saying don’t panic, but here is Barry Parr, a media analyst at Jupiter Research:

“There is absolutely no question that the next 10 years are going to be really bad for the newspaper business. This is a time of wrenching change and chaos. All of our assumptions about newspapers are going to be changed. The format, the business model, the organization of newspapers have outlived their usefulness.”

So this is a good segue into announcing a conference I am helping organize just for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). It is a continuation of Journalism That Matters sessions that have been held in Massachusetts and most recently Tennessee. The tag line to this conference grows in importance when we read statements like that of Parr. The tagline: What Will Happen When Only the Journalism Is Left.? Here is a one paragraph description:


The Journalism that Matters action-oriented discussions now come to the AEJMC. You, along with journalists and public advocates, will envision new economic models, new journalism education models and new pro-am, citizen journalism models. Together we will begin to answer these crucial questions: If advertising and journalism continue to decouple, how can we ensure that quality journalism will have its own intrinsic value? How will our newsrooms and classrooms adapt to the new news ecology in which credentialed bloggers cover federal-court proceedings, vloggers go to prison in defense of First Amendment principles and crowdsourcing blossoms? And finally, what can we tell our students about their future?

We hope to have one-third each of journalists, academics and citizen advocates attend. More later, but pencil the date on your calendar now. August 7-8, 2007 at George Washington University in Washington, DC.


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2 Responses to “February Cruel Month: More Newspaper Chaos”

  1. Bryan Murley Says:

    I’m amazed that he’s going 10 years out. I’m thinking more like five, if that long. What we’ve seen so far are the cracks in the dam. at some points, those cracks are going to break the whole thing.

    This could be one of the most important years in the history of journalism. I hope AEJMC and other conference planners realize that.

  2. Lucas Grindley Says:

    My first reaction, too, was that 10 years seemed generous. Or, forgiving. As a general rule, I believe all those things pundits said were going to happen are actually happening right now.

    Still, that’s not say problems can’t last 10 years.

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