AEJMC’s Very Last Panel Provides Terrific Takeaways

The last panel of the four Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Community gave attendees some definite takeaways to benefit their teach students to write/produce for online platforms.

Panelists listen as Jim Flink of makes a point.

ST LOUIS– While most people were either gone, heading to the airport or getting ready to depart from the 2011 AEJMC Convention, those who hung around until the very end of the convention got some solid ideas to take back to their classrooms.

It was the other book-end to the opening keynote where Rishad Tobaccowala provided insights on technology and communication.

Scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 p.m.,the very last session of the four-day AEJMC Annual Conference was just what I needed.

The Media Management and Economics Division collaborated with the Newspaper Division to sponsor the discussion on “Managing Innovation: Online News Professionals Talk About What’s Ahead.”


Each of the panelists had just 5-7 minutes to share their advice for what they’re looking for or what they want students to know for the future of working on the online platform.

Bob Rose, deputy managing editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had SEVEN (7) THINGS  to help students land that first job:

  1. Find
  2. Own
  3. Promote
  4. Edit
  5. Inform
  6. Diversify
  7. Entertain

Then, from the TV side, Jim Flink, who previously spent 15 years with Hearst Broadcasting,  most recently at the top-rated ABC affiliate KMBC-TV,  shared his thoughts about the future, based in part on his latest project–

  • What’s next is ALREADY HERE!
  • Morph to Mobile
  • Gatekeeping/Agenda-setting Role for Media is dead
  • News Is Customized and Personalized
  • You have to excel on Multiple Platforms
  • Vertical Integration is Key
  • The Tablet is very personal (on-camera presentation different from TV)
  • We’re in the age of Penny Press in a Pack or Pocket
  • You are You, Inc.

Susan Hegger, politics and issues editor at the St. Louis Beacon had quite a different perspective – choosing to focus students on the basics.

  1. Clear, Elegant Writing is Still Important
  2. Students Need to Know How to Report
  3. Journalists Must be able to tell a story
  4. Journalists Should Know Which Medium Best Tells A Particular Story
  5. A Journalist Should Know SOMETHING– have expertise in an area

As former editor of the Bakersfield Californian, Mike Jenner finds himself telling students about the six things that as an editor he looked for in new hires.  He shared his list of six with those at Saturday’s panel:


Perhaps the youngest of the panelists being just about a year out of her experience at the Missouri School of Journalism, Kelsey Proud urged the faculty types in the audience to encourage their students to fail.

“It’s hard to let students fail,” Proud said.

She had a message for faculty to give to students:

“No matter what type of organization you work for, don’t be scared.”

I walked out of there with some strategies to put in place for my  students at University of Alabama who will be arriving for a new semester in less than two weeks.

Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

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