Friday, August 25, 2006

Columbia Prof. addresses MOE Luncheon

The fact that dozens of student journalists are recognized for outstanding work is not really news at an SPJ Convention.

That happens every year and today (Friday) was no exception as student staffs from schools such as the Merrill School of Journalism (U-Md), Cronkite School of Journalism (Arizona State), and Montana State University picked up multiple honors at the Annual Mark of Excellence (MOE) Awards.

I lead with that because it's the reason several hundred people gathered for lunch. In fact, for the students, it's the highlight of the week.

But, the take-away point may come best from the keynote speaker, Sam Freedman, author of Letters to a Young Journalist and a professor at Columbia School of Journalism.

While acknowledging the public image of journalism is not as high as it was when he entered j-school in the mid 1970s, Freedman encouraged the young journalists in the audience, in particular, to re-double their efforts toward excellence.

"Because what we do is in short supply, that makes it even more important what we do," Freedman said. "What we do matters and it can't be replaced by amateurs."

By amateurs, Freedman was referring to the increasing number of folks doing exactly what I'm doing now-- blogging.

He made it clear that bloggers aren't journalists even though there are lots of journalists (i.e. George Daniels) who are using web logs as tools to get out information (whew!)

I like to think this is a form of reporting. But, not everyone who is reporting information is practices the tenants of journalism.

More on that later.

Oh, by the way, I did get Freedman to autograph a copy of his book.


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