Belt Magazine editor Ed Simon reached out to readers this week with a pep talk that has its roots in Death of the Daily News. He cited the book as presenting an example of how we all need to pitch in to support local news – for ourselves but also for our communities.
“What can’t be denied is that Death of the Daily News is an important volume that proves that the journalistic proverb, ‘afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted,’ remains shorthand for the role news gathering should play in all its evolving forms.”
Cybersecurity experts and the journalists who report on them often struggle to understand each other. That was the point of a recent event jointly sponsored by the Newseum and the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University. We brought together experts, journalists and students to find points of commonality. The event highlighted some common concerns, which I address in my latest media column…
WASHINGTON – They don’t even have the words.
Cybersecurity stories fill the headlines almost daily: The Equifax breach potentially compromised personal data of more than 140 million Americans — nearly half of us. Yahoo finally acknowledged losing email addresses and passwords for every single customer — about 3 billion accounts. We’re still waiting to find out just how much the Russians hacked into the 2016 general election .
We see such headlines so often that many of us have become numb to the potential risk. Worse, reporters covering these stories don’t always know how to describe the real danger — or how to separate legitimate threats from hyperbole. Too often, they lack the vocabulary, context and experience to converse with technical experts and convey meaningful alerts to the public. Instead, the public hears a wall of noise in which relatively minor events get similar billing to those that really threaten our lives. Read more…
This also turned out to be a great time for our students to take a look at the Newseum exhibits. After the event, we toured the museum’s FBI exhibit on cybersecurity, led by the Newseum Institute’s COO Gene Policinski.
This also turned into an opportunity for David Hickton, the former U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania, and me to revisit one of our favorite moments. The Newseum exhibit includes a photo of David and my frontpage story from the Tribune-Review on the day after federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh charged five Chinese military officers with stealing computer secrets.
Roberto Clemente Jr. came by the Center for Media Innovation today. He was a huge help while I was working on the book, All About Roberto Clemente, and it was great to reconnect with him now that it’s finished. He has a great understanding of his father’s legacy and a vision for carrying it forward. Plus, he’s constantly thinking about Pittsburgh.
My friend Chris Rolinson made the visit possible. He and Roberto are working on ways to provide clean water to places in the Dominican and Africa where it’s needed. And yet I shamelessly cropped him out of the photo!
Columbia University has posted a blog entry from me about the new Clemente book. You can check it out here.
I learned that quality matters, and I have worked hard every day since graduating to maintain high standards for my own work and for the craft of journalism. It’s something that I try to pass along to my students.
My time at Columbia really shaped the rest of my life. With the master’s degree, I have been able to teach at the college level and that has become a rewarding part of my career and life. Beyond that, the Columbia experience made me aware of the potential to tell meaningful stories and to connect with newsmakers. More than that, the experience helped me set a high standard for my future work. Read more.
It’s time to fully embrace the post-print news age. Newspapers no longer need to be ink-on-paper to be relevant – and in fact, they might be more dynamic in a digital format. This was a revelation to me when I started reading word content (we need a better way of saying this) on my iPad. Doubt it? Just check out the National Geographic app.
Any way, that’s the topic of my latest column. Plus my wife doesn’t mind that we no longer have ink smudges on all the walls of our home.
I love getting ink on my fingers and then leaving smudges on the walls of my house. Sunday mornings are perfect with a pile of newspapers at the breakfast table. And it’s reassuring even to hear plastic-bagged newspapers hitting the driveway in the early morning on a cool night with the windows open.
But if these are the confessions of a print newsman, I must admit that I also love reading the news on my iPad too. News media experts have predicted a shift to digital news delivery for decades. Some thought the paper would come into homes as a daily fax and others imagined flexible digital paper that updates automatically.
For the moment, it has turned out to be mobile-first devices, such as tablets and phones, that have replaced newsprint for growing numbers of readers.
Even so, most people — even a vast majority of young ones — want the news… Read more.
It’s also forcing journalists to rethink the way they cover political races. For a long time, reporters sought objectivity by simply giving candidates equal time. I make the case in my monthly media column that’s no longer the case. Reporters need to be critical thinkers, ask tough questions and sort out reality from fiction.
Let me know in the comments section what you think…
Both sides are not the only side during this deeply vexing presidential election cycle.
Journalism schools have educated students for generations that political objectivity starts with presenting equal information from every candidate. If a journalist quotes a Democrat on a particular topic, the journalist also should find out what the Republican has to say.
But the pursuit of that kind of objectivity has come under fire. Some see blind attempts at objectivity has a cop-out against critical thinking.
By simply giving each side a chance to comment — without considering the veracity of those words – journalists can abdicate their central role of presenting the truth. Read more…
I spoke recently with Essential Pittsburgh on Pittsburgh’s NPR station 90.5 WESA-FM about the future of journalism. This is what they took away from our discussion…
“Journalism is changing, and I wanted to be a part of helping figure out that change for our broader audience,” Conte told Essential Pittsburgh on Friday. See the whole story and listen to the interview here.
My first media column was inspired by meeting Curt Guyette, an investigative reporter for the ACLU in Michigan. Curt discovered officials in Flint, Mich., had not treated the drinking water properly, leading to high levels of lead. He figured it out the old-fashioned way — talking to citizens, asking tough questions and refusing to accept the wrong answers.
Especially in this age of instant news, journalism remains too important to neglect. Too often, news outlets have devalued their products by giving away information. My goals at the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University are reminding the public about the valuable roles of an independent press, while helping journalists — newly minted and cynically old — figure out the paths forward.
Take a moment to check out the column: http://triblive.com/opinion/featuredcommentary/10457846-74/media-journalists-pay
I have been working at Point Park University for 10 years since we started the Point Park News Service program there. Over that time, we have published more than 900 pieces of student work and Trib Total Media, our founding partner, has paid students more than $8,600 for their work.
Now, we’re building on that foundation. I’m excited to finally be able to talk about our new project — the Point Park University Center for Media Innovation. This will be a place for training journalism students in all of the disciplines of our craft. And it will be a place for working journalists to come and figure out the way forward.
It was a big deal to see the announcement in the Trib this morning. And it was great to hear local leaders giving their take during the press conference. It will be even more exciting over the coming months to see this place actually come together. Looking forward to it.