May 14, 2007
By Jessica Cuffman
Click, click, click -- there it is again. The same news story on every channel; the same song on every station. Why, if we have more stations than ever, do they seem so similar? This question, and others concerning media consolidation and reform, will be the topic of this year's Journalism Day, set for this Wednesday.
Hosted by Ohio University and the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, this annual day of workshops and lectures will focus on a topic pertinent to future journalists and media consumers alike: What would it take to create better media?
"Each day, maybe hour, we are ingesting media from various channels," reads an invitation from the student organizers of the conference. "Where are these media coming from? What kind of information is being disseminated? Are media informing the public of issues that facilitate a democratic society? How many of those channels are feeding you the same kinds of information?
"This Journalism Day, we are challenging ourselves to tackle these question."
From 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., student-led panels of professionals, faculty and students will critique the media, beginning with an opening session featuring journalists from the award-winning Seattle-based Common Language Project Web site. During this session at 9 a.m. in the Baker Center Ballroom, Sarah Stuteville, Alex Stonehill and Jessica Partnow will give a glimpse of their unique approach to covering international news. They also will offer a series of workshops on May 17 and 18.
Candace Clement, a Free Press fellow who will discuss the impact of corporate-controlled "big" media, will be the conference's opening speaker. Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working toward media reform.
Sessions throughout the day will tackle other questions, including, "How can journalism avoid mainstreaming?" and "What do filesharing, Facebook and YouTube have in common?"
Undergraduate journalism students Kelsey McCoy, Eric Hornbeck and Maria Gallucci will share their research about network neutrality and the digital divide at 3:15 p.m. in Baker Center 240. Other students also will have a chance to share their research concerning media consolidation, media reform and other related subjects in a poster session that will follow the panel discussions and precede the annual Journalism Awards Banquet.
"If we don't bring these issues to light, journalism students might graduate from Scripps not understanding that we professors 'get it' when it comes to concerns about the corporatization of the media," said Bob Stewart, a faculty organizer of the conference and journalism professor.
For more information about Journalism Day at Ohio University and a detailed schedule of events, visit www.scrippsjschool.org/journalismday/.