Contact: Zack Plair
STARKVILLE, Miss.â€”A group of local and statewide journalists will share their perspectives on the evolving role of news media in society during a Wednesday [Oct. 7] program at Mississippi State.
Open to all, the 3:30-4:45 p.m. panel discussion takes place in the third-floor Fowlkes Auditorium of the Colvard Student Union.
Sponsored by the universityâ€™s communication department, the discussion coincides with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communicationâ€™s second News Engagement Day initiative.
AEJMC is a nonprofit organization based in Columbia, South Carolina, that supports the work of journalism and mass communication educators and students, as well as media professionals. It launched the News Engagement Day initiative last year.
Associate communication professor Kevin D. Williams said this is MSUâ€™s first observance of the initiative designed to engage members of campus and local communities by challenging them to â€śRemember why news matters.â€ť
Members of the MSU panel will include print reporters Therese Apel of the Clarion-Ledger and Carl Smith of the Starkville Dispatch; and television broadcasters Joey Barnes of WCBI Columbus and Ryan Moore with WDAM in Hattiesburg. Others may be added to the list, Williams said.
â€śWe know that trends are changing in journalism,â€ť the University of Georgia doctoral graduate observed. The panelists will be examining â€śhow media outlets like print and broadcast are adapting to those changes,â€ť he explained.
Williams, who joined the MSU faculty in 2005, said todayâ€™s prevalent trends involve the rise of social media and corresponding shrinkage of traditional news cycles resulting from an almost instantaneous consumer expectation.
Rather than specifically seeking stories carried in traditional media outlets, Williams said increasing numbers of young adults now are routed to news accounts via Facebook, Twitter and other third-party sources. The rise of citizen journalism also affects how news is covered, he said.
Williams said Apel made extensive use of social media while covering Septemberâ€™s Delta State University shooting of one campus faculty member by another. She will address both benefits and challenges faced at the scene that garnered substantial social-media involvement.
â€śWhen a big event happens, everyone with a cell phone becomes a journalist,â€ť Williams said. â€śHow does that help or hurt the situation?â€ť
MSU Junior Becca L. Hawkins of Laurel said she looks forward to having the working professionals discuss their processes for gathering and reporting news. As a frequent news consumer who relies heavily on Twitter, the communication/communication studies major also is interested in hearing how the panelists expect to improve her future news reading experiences.
â€śWe live in such a fast-paced world, and getting the consumer more news faster is always something that can be improved upon,â€ť Hawkins said.
For more on News Engagement Day, visit www.newsengagement.org. Additional support for the campaign may be provided at @newsengagement and via hashtag #newsengagementday.
Additional information on the Wednesday program is available from Williams at 662-325-8330 and email@example.com.
MSU is Mississippiâ€™s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.