Wick Communications

Posts Tagged ‘ASU’

A new ‘Co/Lab’ in Arizona

In Innovation on 5 Oct 2017 at 3:30 pm

Many of you have probably been reading about an exciting new project that has brought some of the brightest minds in the industry to Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of journalism. It began with a question: Can news literacy be made universal?

Obviously, that is a tall order when literacy is low by many measures. I think the fundamental challenge is that so many of us just don’t want to hear about complications. We’ll take 140 characters and a photo, please. To be literate is to be curious and to put our mind to tasks.

Anyway, this collaboration is sponsored by Facebook. I know. We’re letting the fox in the henhouse. One of the project idea men is Dan Gilmour, who is a very well regarded former newspaperman who benefited from being at the right place at the right time as a columnist in Silicon Valley at the turn of the century. He says in a blog post that he trusts Facebook to do the right things now, having done so many wrong things then. We’ll see, I suppose.

Dan is right about the problem, in my view. We’ve ignored the “demand side.” We were arrogant. We owned the means of production of the news for so long we just thought folks valued us for that reason alone. Not so much, it turns out. … Read the rest of this entry »


It used to be better, right?

In journalism on 9 Oct 2014 at 2:02 pm
Bill Dedman, speaking at Arizona State University. Courtesy the Cronkite School of Journalism.

Bill Dedman, speaking at Arizona State University. Courtesy the Cronkite School of Journalism.

Recently, investigative reporter Bill Dedman stepped in it when he had the temerity to suggest the good old days weren’t always so good. Speaking to students at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism, he said:

“First, I’d like to urge you to stop worrying about how things were so much better in the old days. They weren’t better.”

That is blasphemy among many in our profession who remember, say, the Reagan administration. We take it as a truism that the golden age of journalism was somewhere between the careers of William Randolph Heart and Ben Bradlee and to say otherwise is to threaten your press pass.

From where I sit, whether it was ever “better” depends on how you define the term.

These things are true: Newsroom budgets used to be bigger. There were more people in the newsroom. Newspapers were bigger. There were more people being paid to cover statehouses and school boards. Newspapers had more prestige. Reporters didn’t feel pulled in quite so many directions.

These things are also true: News organizations used to be terribly hierarchical. They were almost always run by old white guys. Consumers regularly had to wait 24 hours or longer to read the news. There were far fewer people engaged in reporting civic affairs in one way or another. There were fewer people taking newsworthy photos. There was no opportunity to speak the truth to power unless someone powerful allowed it in print. … Read the rest of this entry »