Three years ago I asked: “What should journalism and communication students know?” and suggested that we have a conversation to identify the issues, individuals, organizations, and events that have defined and influenced our field, good and bad. Today I ask a different but equally important question: How can journalism and communication educators, professionals, and graduate students best address the challenges and seize the opportunities in today’s media landscape, transformed by digital, social media, mobile, and the Millennial Generation, the most educated, most racially and ethnically diverse, and now the largest?
There’s no question that over the past half-decade, challenges have been met and opportunities have been seized. Evidence can be found in transformed curricula and classrooms and AEJMC conference programming and research papers. Evidence of meeting challenges and seizing opportunities is also apparent in journal articles, books, and awards bestowed to recognize and celebrate exceptionalism in AEJMC, journalism and communication programs, and the broader field. We have not stood still as the media terrain has changed around us—and we cannot rest as demographics, attitudes, methods that consumers use to engage with news, and news reporting platforms continue to change.
That’s why on behalf of AEJMC, I am proud to unveil the Center for News Excellence and Engagement, a virtual spotlight, resource, and meeting place for journalism and communication educators, professionals, and graduate students to focus on the challenges and opportunities in our ever-changing field.
The Center for News Excellence and Engagement grew out of my News Engagement Day presidential initiative, launched in 2014, to reverse declining news consumption, a trend that threatens our industry, our future, and the ideal of an informed democratic society. To fully take on this declining news consumption challenge requires more than the first Tuesday of every October.
Our goal for the Center for News Excellence and Engagement is to focus on the importance of engaging with news year-round. We will provide thoughtful issue-oriented blog posts, classroom resources, including video archives from AEJMC keynote speakers and panels, and headlines that you need to know but may have missed.
Journalism treasures as well as must-listen-to original podcasts will also be featured. Click on the featured virtual reality podcast which explores ethical dimensions of this innovative reporting tool. Or listen to this year’s first-place winner of AEJMC’s News Audience Research Paper Award take us behind the scenes of his research study. And because of the impact of the Millennial Generation as news consumers, we have compiled a list of news platforms that are targeting and attracting young adults born between 1983 and 1999 who are at the forefront of the change that the media landscape is undergoing.
Finally, staying true to its mission, the Center will emphasize the principles and processes essential to news that is excellent, trusted by the public, and worthy of the public’s time and attention.
Founding Director and Editor, Center for News Excellence and Engagement
2013-2014 AEJMC President