Panel discusses evolving media

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Regardless of whether you are pursuing a degree in media arts or not, it is very clear that the media is changing everyday. Modern communication and funding are just a couple of the many factors that play into this change according to the panelists present for the discussion on The State of the Media in Oregon on Feb. 19.

The world of journalism that many of the panelists entered years ago is much different than the one they are a part of today. And each panelist became a journalist for a different reason.

Sarah Mirk of The Oregonian was attracted to the power that “in a very small space, you can convey an idea.”

The understanding of Israel Bayer of Street Roots agreed with Mirk.

“Journalism is meant to give people a voice,” said Bayer.

Like Bayer and Mirk, panelist George Rede of the Hillsboro Argus regarded journalism as an outlet for progress and said, “I can be a crusader for justice or change.”

Although journalism gives a voice and human face to print stories as Bayer explained, Pacific University’s Jim Moore brought up a negative side to the world of print journalism.

Moore explained that in modern day news, the majority of Americans receive their political news from their local television news station.

When panelists opened up the discussion to take questions from attendees, a student agreed that many are receiving their news from resources other than print. Social media and other online reporting is creating more opportunity for the public to act as journalists.

Mirk agreed with this notion but disagreed with the view that it should be seen as intimidating for the world of journalism.

“To be a reporter these days, you need a phone, a computer and that’s pretty much it,” aid Mirk. “And that’s pretty exciting.”

As with an area of the media, the idea of citizen journalists allows the possibility of bias. When a student asked whether or not bias should be viewed as dangerous, the panelists were in disagreement.

“Bias is sloppiness,” said John Schrag of the Forest Grove News-Times and the Hillsboro Tribune.

Nigel Jaquiss of the HIllsboro Argus saw bias not as a lack of information but an understanding that arises through the story progression.

“The point of view is a result of reporting,” Jaquiss said.

The most commonly seen bias in journalism is liberal or conservative. Their presence is due to the unavoidability that the media “collectively serve all these different micro-audiences,” said Rede.

Although some may see the bias in media as unavoidable, others are in constant paranoia over it.

“The thing about journalism, is that you’re sick to your stomach all the time,” explained The Oregonian’s Susan Nielsen.

Funding is another essential part of any industry, but crucial for today’s editors and publishers of newspapers. And its absence is making them nervous, like Nielsen.

“Print is really in trouble,” said Schrag.

To make sure that journalism continues to emphasize the stories it tells rather than money, Mirk said, “you really need to have a publisher and editor who back you up.”

Although lack of funding and modern communication may be bringing hindrances to journalists today, the panelists remain hopeful about the media industry as a whole and what opportunities it could create for print.

“I think the future lies in small media,” said Bayer.


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