Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

This is a guest post written by David Sullivan, an assistant managing editor and the copy desk chief at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where I worked briefly while earning my journalism master’s degree at Temple University.  He is weighing in with a few thoughts related to the recent exchange between Steve Buttry and I regarding the advantages and challenges embedded within student press innovation efforts.

I was reading your exchange with the prolific Steve Buttry and I came again to that phrase “where they live.”  [For example, Buttry begins his Nieman Journalism Lab piece by stating, “Students live digital-first lives.  Student media need to become digital-first.”]  Now, my son is 24 and so while I am of AARP age I am not personally unaware of how differently younger adults and college students access media than I do.  Yet at the same time, through my son I have met many who, while they communicate with their friends on Facebook and the like and find restaurants on Yelp, do not “live there.”

Not to shave the onion too closely, but in college, they “live” on campus.  My son “lives” in New York City.  He “lives” at the financial firm where he works.  While he reads the Wall Street Journal online, he does not “live” online.  My niece is 27, lives in Grand Rapids, and doesn’t even have an Internet connection at home.  (Not that this makes her subscribe to the Grand Rapids Press.)

What struck me is, when you look at the vast number of posts, tweets, and the like, it is someone like Steve Buttry– all of us in media know people like him– who “lives” online. And so much of media writing today has always seemed to be based on, “The world is like me”– whether it’s electronic-media junkies or print diehards.  Whereas for most people, media– print, electronic, digital, whatever– is something they check in with from time to time, but they don’t “live” digitally any more than they “live” analogally (if there is such a word).

In Philadelphia, where I work, tons of younger people read the Metro newspaper daily because it’s 1) free, 2) written in short bites, 3) written about things they are interested in, and 4) easily foldable.  The fact that it’s in print is no more an impediment than it is for a college daily.  I realize that downsizing dailies has not saved them across Europe from financial trauma.  But there’s this assumption that every college student is intrinsically living in some online universe, when a lot of what they’re doing is just the equivalent of passing notes in class, or watching a video instead of daydreaming.

A person like Steve Buttry– who when he was at the Cedar Rapids Gazette probably read his own paper, and the Des Moines Register, and the Times, and the Journal, and watched CNN, etc.–  “lives” in media online because before there was online he “lived” in media offline.  Nothing wrong with that.  But a lot of young people don’t live there.

Related

Advantages, Disadvantages to Student Media Digital Experimentation: My Response to Steve Buttry Report

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A group of current and recent journalism students at Georgetown University are suing the FBI, CIA, and six other government agencies for records related to the 2002 kidnapping and death of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.  According to The Washington Post, the students have been attempting to solve the Pakistan-set murder mystery for more than a year, a quest that started as a class project in a Georgetown j-course.

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As the Post reports:

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The students’ assignment was to find out who killed Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and why. Although the class ended last spring and many of the students graduated, they’re still trying to write that last paper. . . . Yesterday [Dec. 18], the group, known as the Pearl Project and now attached to the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court asking for the release of records by the CIA, FBI, Defense Department and five other federal agencies. . . . In the early days of the class, [the instructor] told the students of her longtime friendship with Pearl, a musician who hung out with her in Adams Morgan bars after work in the 1990s. . . . The class immediately felt different — more emotional, weightier, students said. “We weren’t sitting in front of a textbook reading about Danny Pearl’s case,” said Erin Delmore, a 2008 graduate. “We were in it, head-first in it.”

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To me, at the most general level, the group’s efforts are a wonderful example of two things:

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1) The genuine impact student journalism can make when channeled toward a worthwhile, focused goal.

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2) The importance of a knowledgeable, impassioned adviser to direct j-students’ talents and energies.

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Emily Veach is roughly a half-day ahead of you.  She recently arrived in Hong Kong, part of the larger “Wall Street Journal Copy Desk Diaspora” (an actual Facebook group).  She works nights.  She travels to Tapei on weekends and recently kayaked in the waters off Cheung Chau Island.  She enjoys playing “Rock Band.”  And she’s a twentysomething journalist worth knowing.

 

Emily Veach, Assistant News Editor at Wall Street Journal Asia, got her start at The Indiana Daily Student.

Emily Veach, assistant news editor at Wall Street Journal Asia, got her start at The Indiana Daily Student.

 

Who is she and how did she get to HK?  In a recent blog post, she explained:

 

Here’s me: A 26-year-old assistant news editor at The Wall Street Journal Asia who once walked the streets of West Lafayette [Indiana] with her best friend Annemarie dreaming of our future together as marine biologists . . . How did I morph from that daydreaming 9-year-old to the person I am today?

 

In part, Veach’s metamorphosis into WSJA editor extraordinaire began similarly to many professional journos at work worldwide today: Her stint as a college journalist.  Below is a brief Q&A exploring her student press experience and the role it has played in her professional journalistic journey:

 

1) What is your current position and general responsibilities?

 

I am assistant news editor at The Wall Street Journal Asia. I am responsible for the Economy & Politics pages of the paper. On any given night, I have between two and seven pages under my purview. I edit stories and art; write headlines; coordinate coverage with bureaus in Asia, Europe and the U.S.; and ensure my partner in crime is adequately fed.  We both work better that way.

 

2) Quick-hit summary of your college journalism experience.

 

Indiana Daily Student (Indiana University): copy editor, reporter, arts editor, paginator.

 

3) Write a six-word memoir of your time as a student journalist.

 

Turns out, writing sets me free.

 

4) How did the experience help you or shape your current work in the professional j-world?

 

My time at the IDS was a beginning for me, in terms of getting to know myself. For as much as we laughed at ourselves and lounged on comfortable couches, I learned a whole lot about professionalism and responsibility. Newspapers aren’t one-man shows, nor are they assembly lines. They need stars and they need good leaders. I saw my peers at the IDS scoring cool stories and organizing coverage of issues that mattered to us and to the thousands of people reading it every day. It made me want to be better every day.

 

  

5) What’s an example of a story on which you were especially proud to have reported or edited?

 

The IDS sent me along with another reporter, Elise LeBlanc, and a photographer, Nick Kapke, to New York City during the summer of 2002 to do research for the paper’s “Sept. 11, One Year Later” special section. We came back with some great stories. We fed off each other and are grateful still for the generosity of the people we met there. In particular, the staff from the Borough of Manhattan Community College, who shared so much and have so much to be proud of.

 

6) To all the j-student haters out there, why does college journalism matter?

 

It’s true: You learn more in the field than in the classroom.

 

7) What is one question we should all be asking much more often about the current state or future of journalism?

 

Are we having fun?

 

Read the full Q&A here

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