April 19, 2007

SIUC to host 'Future of the Media' symposium

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE — The media's rapid and continuing evolution, fueled by computer notebooks, bloggers and 24-7 news cycles, is creating new issues for media professionals and audiences alike.

A two-day seminar and panel discussion at Southern Illinois University Carbondale next week, featuring leading journalists, will explore a number of these issues. "The Future of the Media," is set for Tuesday, April 24, and Wednesday, April 25 in SIUC Student Center Ballroom D. Admission is free and the public is welcome.


Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to cover the symposium and panel discussions. Pre-registration is required for media representatives interested in attending Wednesday's session, which includes lunch. Registration is accepted through Monday, April 23. For more information, contact Christina Rich at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at 618/453-4078 or clrich@siu.edu.


SIUC's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, and the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts' School of Journalism and Department of Radio & Television are sponsoring the event.

"The media have been — and will continue to be — essential components of our democracy," institute director Mike Lawrence said. "So it is important for us to consider how substantial changes in the media world could affect not only newspapers, broadcasters, Internet sites and bloggers, but also the policy-making process in America."

Lawrence will lead an informal discussion at 7 p.m. Tuesday on "Trends in Media Ownership." Others participants are Al Balk, former editor of the Columbia Journalism Review and author of a book on the radio industry; Bob Hillman, former White House correspondent for the Dallas Morning News who is now affiliated with thepolitico.com; and former St. Louis Post-Dispatch editor Ellen Soeteber.

The conference is timely and important, said MCMA Dean Manjunath Pendakur, noting the changing times are challenging for media in many areas.

"Since Ronald Reagan's presidency, dramatic changes in technology, public policy and corporate structure globally have brought us to the point where nothing is the same any more," he said. "It is a very exciting and challenging time for students and journalism educators. This collaboratively organized conference promises to shed light on the issues that media industries and practitioners face as we face this uncertain future."

On Wednesday, the 10 a.m. session will focus on "New Media." Ray Schroeder, communications professor and director of online teaching at the University of Illinois at Springfield, will serve as moderator. Panelists are Nick Charles editor, of AOL's Black Voices; Linda Jue, director, New Voices in Independent Journalism; and Jan Schaeffer, executive director of J-Lab's New Voices project on citizen journalism.

The final session, which begins at 11:45 a.m., looks at "Where Does International Journalism Fit in the 'Local, local, local' Newsroom?" William H. Freivogel, interim director of SIUC's School of Journalism and former deputy editorial page editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, will serve as moderator. Panelists are Peter Kareithi, a former publisher and editor of the leading opposition newspaper in Kenya during the Moi regime, and an author of studies of African and global journalism; Jon Sawyer, director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and a former Washington bureau chief for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; and Nick Charles of AOL.

"We are living in a scary and exciting time," Freivogel said. "Scary because information technology is changing so fast; exciting for the same reason. This is the most revolutionary moment in information technology in half a millennium, since the Gutenberg Bible.

"For veteran journalists the question is how to avoid becoming the modern-day equivalent of scribes. For journalism students, the opportunities are endless," he said.

For more information on the symposium, contact the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at 618/453-4009.