Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Community journalism gets some more respect

Still have stuff to post from the Toronto trip, but am having to dribble it out around getting ready for classes that begin Thursday. One quick item of note is that community journalism now has a new home at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

The Community Journalism Interest Group officially formed at the Toronto meeting with about 20 people. (I get to play secretary for the next year.) The driving force is the belief that while journalists at newspapers of less than 50,000 circulation (and in small TV markets) might face similar issues as their big-city bretheren, their practices and the outcomes can be much different in markets were "everybody knows your name." And besides, many of our graduates get their first jobs in these markets.

Jock Lauterer of the University of North Carolina (bio), a longtime community journalist himself, pushed for the group's formation with the following organizing principles:

• To invigorate and inspire educators in community journalism by forming a national cohort of like-minded scholars sharing their ideas, findings and work on an annual basis.
• To open a national dialogue on community journalism by creating a networking system and an annual focal point for educators in this field.
• To foster, encourage and reward superior academic work in community journalism through an annual competition that would identify and showcase the best research papers and creative teaching ideas.
• To move the field forward by supporting and affirming great teaching, publications and research in the field.
• To stimulate new affiliations, research and publications by nurturing and mentoring young academics in the field.
• To make a positive difference in the profession of community journalism by forging new partnerships and building new bridges between the academy and the profession, and by producing significant and practical research immediately useful to the profession.

The new interest group is planning its first programming for the next AEJMC convention, Aug. 10-13, in San Antonio, Texas. Those with program ideas should contact Lauterer no later than Oct. 1 at jock@email.unc.edu


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