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Lecture 1 Introduction to Class SMPA 2101

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silvio waisbord

on 17 September 2016

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Transcript of Lecture 1 Introduction to Class SMPA 2101

Introduction to Class
Why moderate optimism?
Attention to news greater than ever - people spend more time reading news
Top 50 news websites with more "traffic"
Move towards less "mediated"/'centralized information
Rise and consolidation of "citizen journalism" - plural structures, more participation. - "journalism doesn't own information anymore"
Why pessimism?
Future of newspaper industry - losing readers,
advertisers, stock value, sale price of storied brands
(e.g. Washington post $250m, boston globe $70m,
San Diego Union-Tribune $85m)
Why societies need journalism? why worry? why be happy?
the press developed in the 1600s; Journalism originally developed in the early 1800s.
very different time - technological scarcity, no mass society, no industrial revolution
moderate optimism and pessimism about current situation
journalism is being reinvented
amidst unprecedented changes

times of change and transition in journalism and the news industry
questions worth asking
what would happen in journalism didn't exist?
what difference does journalism make (everyday life, politics, economics, culture)?
if journalism wouldn't do it, who will sift through massive amounts of information and opinion, tell us what matters, who/whose views count, "keep officials honest"?
why do people read news - information, sense of order, social belonging, financial need, etc?
Journalism has a future, but we don't know
for sure what it will look like

plenty of speculations about the future of journalism
class isn't about predicting the future but
understanding classic and contemporary arguments
about "how journalism works"
ask questions about journalism and
democracy, occupational practice,
types of reporting, models of the press
around the world
critical thinking - ask questions
build and support arguments, consider
different perspectives, take a position
arguments about journalism based on assumptions
about ethics, society, democracy, ideology, economics
consider the following questions
who cares if most news isn't really about public affairs?
is journalism the "guardian of democracy"?
are all news and form of journalism equally desirable?
what if most audiences watch entertainment news?
is it bad if young audiences get political news from entertainment?
what if people don't bother to visit news sites and just read news in their social media feeds?
why should we care if local tv news is filled with crime?
what does news audiences' interests tells us about what journalism should cover?
ask good questions if you want smart answers
so, what we will do
read classic and recent arguments
identify key themes in journalism studies
define problems and questions
discuss theoretical and practical questions
probe existing answers, search for new ideas
online news consumption surpassed print newspaper news consumption in 2010.
Circulation continues to drop, ad revenue is shrinking, and as a result the industry has experienced an unprecedented wave of layoffs, cutbacks, bankruptcies and the complete shutdown of some papers.
why is the crisis of Newspaper journalism such a big concern? most celebrated form of journalism
Digital revenues (in actual dollars, not percentage terms) are not yet rising nearly as fast as the print revenues continue to fall away.
sources of news


Pew Research, June 2015

think critically (don't just repeat what you have read)
use your head
why? answers to your questions and problems are likely to be already in your head
John Locke (1632-1704) "Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours."
Full transcript