A Lab for ‘The Reconstruction of American Journalism’

Written by Ryan Thornburg January 13, 2010 3:07 pm EST No comments

This week is the first of a new semester in my Public Affairs Reporting for New Media class — a journalism class in which the students must work 30 hours with a community partner over the course of the semester. Our goal this semester — expose the students to all of the journalism models that Len Downie and Michael Schudson outline as potential replacements for a decline in public affairs reporting at newspapers.

This semester, the 18 students in the class will be divided among four partners:

  • the North Carolina Center for Voter Education, a non-profit funded largely by foundation money and private donations;
  • OrangePolitics.org, a liberal blog about local politics run part-time by a single “citizen jouranlist”;
  • N.C. DataNet, a newsletter of from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Program on Public Life, edited by a former News & Observer reporter and opinion editor;
  • a public broadcast outlet here in North Carolina.

If any of these sources will be part of the reconstruction of American journalism, the students in the class will help determine how it’s reconstructed. At the very least, the students will be able to report back to the rest of us more details about what they find in these laboratories of post-newspaper news.

Stay tuned… and add your suggested reading for the class via the Delicious bookmark tag JOMC491-examples-s10.

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Facebook Politics: Hidden in Plain Sight

Written by Ryan Thornburg April 29, 2009 7:49 pm EDT No comments

Surely some of you know more about this topic than I, but here are my thoughts the News & Observer’s Under the Dome blog.

Facebook groups are ripe for the harvesting

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N.C. Rising Dropout Rate: A Call for Media Partners

Written by Ryan Thornburg November 19, 2008 5:00 pm EST No comments

Next semester, I’m leading a group of students in a service-learning class at UNC-Chapel Hill that be using online reporting and publishing techniques to dig in to the story of North Carolina’s rising high school dropout rate. As part of this experiment, we’re working with news outlets in the state on a collaboration that will live both on their individual sites and on a centralized site at UNC. If you’re interested in participating, please take a look at our draft plan of attack here .

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Journalism Programming: Supply and Demand

Written by Ryan Thornburg July 11, 2008 9:21 am EDT 1 comment

One of the reasons I’m so struck that online journalists in North Carolina have such an emphasis on traditional skills and duties is that it starkly contrasts with the skills I hear editors at top national sites tell me that they are looking for in recent j-school grads. The Knight Foundation believes that programmers are in such high demand in newsrooms today that they gave Northwestern $638,000 to fund nine full-ride scholarships for programmers who want to get a master’s degree in journalism at Medill.

One of the scholarship recipients, Brian Boyer, writes about his career prospects over at the MediaShift blog.

Listed below are the job titles he thinks are available to him. He’s most interested in becoming a “applications developer” or a “hacker journalist.” Are any of these jobs available in North Carolina?

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Citizen Journalism and Authentic Leadership

Written by Ryan Thornburg June 21, 2008 9:09 pm EDT 3 comments

This post is a written version of comments I presented yesterday at the Future of Journalism conference sponsored by The Carnegie-Knight Task Force on the Future of Journalism Education and organized by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

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The Pitfalls of Commodity News

Written by Ryan Thornburg May 9, 2008 9:48 pm EDT No comments

While watching campaign coverage here in North Carolina earlier this week, I was reminded of one of my longtime frustrations with live election returns — it’s a game news sites have to play, but cannot win.

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Research Question: Curious or Influential?

Written by Ryan Thornburg May 6, 2008 8:23 am EDT No comments

Over at his blog, Under the Dome, at NewsObserver.com, Ryan Teague Beckwith points out another interesting online political communication question: What’s the relationship between candidate messages in paid media, free media coverage of those messages and Google searches related to those messages?

And who are the Google searchers on political terms? Are they The Influentials? Young People? Newspaper readers? Non-voters? All of the above?

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Research Question: Do Hits Equal Votes?

Written by Ryan Thornburg May 5, 2008 4:24 pm EDT No comments

North Carolina Republican gubernatorial candidate argues that they are.

But what’s he talking about? Page views? Unique visitors?

What parts of the site are busiest? Fundraising? Issue briefings?

How are people finding his site? Google “earned search”? Online ads? Media coverage?

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What I'm reading

  • Writing from Video Exercise 2 hours ago
    These video writing and editing exercises are from the 4th Edition of the Broadcast News Handbook by Charlie Tuggle, Forrest Carr and Suzanne Hoffman.
  • News Corp. Donation Clouds Fox Coverage of Prop. 24 - NYTimes.com 2010/11/02
  • How to Count Items in a Filtered List in Excel 2010/10/25
  • Relational Databases - Example - Martin Baker 2010/10/16
  • MySQL :: MySQL 5.0 Reference Manual :: 10 Data Types 2010/10/16

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