Saturday, July 26, 2008

What's in a name? To "Newspaper Division," a lot

If you think you have trouble navigating all the changes happening in newsrooms and among the news media, consider the plight of the "Newspaper Division" of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

(That mouthful is the organization to which most j-profs belong. The other biggie in the academic side of the field is the International Communication Association, where journalism has a much smaller presence.)

The Newspaper Division is deep into a discussion about whether "Newspaper" still fits (PDF). It's a legacy from an era when we tended to label ourselves and our groups by our medium, not by our function. It's one of the cultural problems newspaper newsrooms have faced as they move online.

It's been, as the diplomats say, a spirited and frank discussion, with one side arguing that times have changed and the name should, to others who say whether online or in print, it will always be known as a newspaper. And always lurking is the quuestion of what do you call it without stepping on another division's toes? For instance, one suggestion is "News" division, but Radio-TV can well argue that it does "news" too.

(And let's stipulate that "it doesn't matter" is not a viable option here. It does matter what a group calls itself, semantically and reputationally.)

Take a peek into the listserv thread. Then tell us what you think.

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At 7/26/08, 10:31 AM, Blogger Brian Cubbison said...

Historically Print Newsrooms Division?

Needs work.

At 7/26/08, 5:40 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

You're stealing my stuff {grinnn}.

In the Hartsville Today report, I referred to them as HPNs and TPNs ("traditionally print newsrooms") with tongue firmly implanted in cheek. Feedback liked "traditionally" better. Hmmm ...

It really does highlight the cultural problem we have to overcome after years of self-identifying by medium, though, doesn't it?

At 7/27/08, 11:24 AM, Blogger journalismguy said...

Yes, names matter, and for that reason it should remain "Newspaper Division."

Haven't read the thread, so maybe a bit uninformed about this, but let's not desert or in any other way undermine newspapers.


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