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Category Archives: Research

header_logoI worked with the American Society of News Editors again this year to help with their annual newsroom employment census. While the number of employees in daily newspaper newsrooms has been decreasing in recent years, most people interpret the numbers to be a broad indication of the death of journalism or at least the death of the specific career of “journalist.” However, as I’ve learned through consulting with this project, counting journalists is very difficult, especially in a time of significant structural change in the news industry.

In the media coverage of this year’s census, I was interviewed and quoted by both Poynter and The Atlantic, where I was able to shed some light on the difficulties in counting journalists and why the ASNE results can’t be interpreted without an understanding of the broader context of modern newsroom structures.

Here are links and brief snippets of the articles where I was quoted.

Atlantic (Newsroom diversity: A casualty of journalism’s financial crisis):

“What’s difficult is we don’t know what the institution of journalism is anymore,” he says. With online news, Maksl explains, there is no list of all the online news sources, or even a clear definition of what constitutes an online news organization.

Poynter (ASNE census finds 2,600 newsroom jobs were lost in 2012):

Who counts as a journalist now is complicated,” said Adam Maksl, one of the academics who oversees the work. For this year, Maksl said in a phone interview, papers with regional editing centers were left to make their own call about counting their share of these groups as part of their own news staff.

Clarifying that and other gray areas remains “a challenge for the future,” Maksl said. There probably remains some ambiguity about who in the newspaper’s digital operations (a code-writer, for instance) should count as a journalist. Also, Maksl noted that clerks have traditionally been excluded from the count, but in downsized newsrooms many with that job classification are heavily involved in producing journalism.

kidreporter-fbI got interested in studying youth journalism because I was involved in it when I was a kid. Even at a very young age, I knew that I wanted to do something in journalism.
 
Well before my high school journalism experience, at age 10, I got an opportunity to volunteer at an NPR station in Columbus, Ohio. When we moved to Indianapolis, my dad helped me get business cards that said “kid reporter” on them, which we thought I could use to find other media volunteer opportunities.
 
So, I submitted an application — with my business card — to Children’s Express, where I learned even more about journalism and got some pretty amazing opportunities. 
 
Children’s Express became Y-Press several years ago. In 2008, I got the opportunity to spend several days as a chaperone/adviser with Y-Press kid reporters covering the Republican National Convention. It really was an amazing experience that reminded me of the value of youth journalism and media programs.
 
Today, I received an envelope from Lynn Sygiel, the director of Y-Press who has been there since CE started and since I joined the group in 1993. In it, she included this photo and business card. 
 
Unfortunately, amid financial challenges, the Y-Press board decided to dissolve the organization. I am so saddened by this news. Y-Press and organizations like it are so vital to teaching civics and promoting a strong youth voice in media. I hope — somehow — that youth media organizations find a way to survive, and that funders see the benefit of these important programs.

jmcecover

 

Just a quick note to say that I recently had an article published in Journalism and Mass Communication Educator. The article, “Protecting the impressionable minds from the impressionable minds: The third-person effect and student speech,” was written by me and Brian Schruam.

Here’s the abstract, if you’re interested:

 

Support for student expression and First Amendment attitudes were measured among Missouri high school principals (n = 86). Findings demonstrated that the third-

person effect was a significant predictor of these attitudes. The more principals perceived mass media to affect others over themselves, the less supportive they were for student free expression rights, particularly with regard to support for online, off-campus student speech. In addition to applying communication theory to a largely atheoretical field

of scholarship, this research helps suggest several directions for future research to better understand restrictions on student speech

.

 

 

 

One of my hopes was to be able to go back to Indiana after getting the Ph.D. And that’s becoming a reality. I was recently hired as the new assistant professor of journalism at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany.

The journalism program is fairly small, with just two full-time faculty (including me), but there are hopes to grow in future years. In addition to teaching, I’ll also be advising the student newspaper, The Horizon.

The job is tenure-track, with a 3/3 load. That means that each semester, I’ll teach three classes (one of which is advising the newspaper) and will have one course release for research. This is exactly the kind of job I wanted. I get to work with students on creating a publication. I get to continue some of my research. And I  get to work with a growing program interested in preparing students for a changing media environment.

We’re probably going to be living in Louisville, which is just across the Ohio River from New Albany.

Now, to find a job for Renée. We’re pretty optimistic. If anyone knows of anything, send us a shout.

That’s right. I’ve got a busy few months ahead of me. I’m deep into dissertation writing – have about half written and should be collecting more survey data within the next month. I will easily be able to finish this summer. At least I’m further than the first paragraph.

Also, I’m still looking for a job for next year. It’s a tough market for the journalism faculty positions now. Maybe I should have studied advertising. 😉 In all seriousness, though, things are looking up for the future, and I hold quite a bit of faith that I will be teaching and/or researching come fall.

Oh, and there is this other thing that I am forgetting. What … is … it? Oh, I’m getting married. Renée and I just sent out the invitations this week, and they look great (thanks to our good friend, Shelby Geidner, who designed them).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I truly can’t wait for the wedding. Having the opportunity to marry the love of my life is truly a blessing. The wedding will be fun, and I can’t wait to see so many wonderful friends and family members. But it is the marriage that I am most excited about. I can’t wait to be married to an amazing women who makes me a better person every day.

That’s about all I’ll write for now. I’m keeping busy with writing the dissertation and working on a couple other research projects, applying for jobs, and planning the wedding. This schedule leaves little time for blogging, but an update was needed.