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Digital Storytelling Track

Posted by Seth Putnam on September 14, 2008

We are storytellers, plain and simple. But one of the major hurdles facing journalism today is that the advent of the Internet has made everyone else storytellers, too.

With the explosion of user-generated content, everyone has the capacity to be a gatekeeper, and that has left those attempting to make storytelling their living–their art, their craft–wondering how to respond. And responding they are. Friday morning, in the Fred Smith Forum of the Reynolds Journalism Institute, several speakers presented on projects that they have spearheaded to address journalism’s approach to storytelling in the digital age.

Roger Fidler and the “Digital Newsbook Project:”

Fidler spoke about “introducing a new way to deliver, access and read in-depth special reports.” These will come in the form of electronic books and be available for sale and download onto electronic readers like the Amazon Kindle. Unlike the breaking news and developing updates commonly found on the Web, these newsbooks will fill the of longer form enterprise stories and allow the consumer to delve more deeply into an issue that interests or affects him or her.

Predecessors of the newspaper, newsbooks are actually a throwback to the 15th and 16th centuries when those in power would publish and distribute information they considered newsworthy (for instance, reasons for going to war.)

“We’re going way back and taking it forward and making it digital,” Fidler said.

Since 2007, 16 of these “eBooks” have been published and are currently on sale for $4.95 a pop.

Matt Thompson and “Epic 2014: Progress Report:”

In 2004, Thompson and Robin Sloan, formerly of the Poynter Institute, created an eight-minute movie (Epic 2014) that attempted to describe our mdia consumption habits. It focused on three things: cheap and easy distribution, cheap and easy production, and a proliferation of mobile consumption.

Now, four years later, Thompson is attempting to further explore what he considers to be the most important word in journalism: context.

With regard to content produced on the Internet, the focus has mainly been to break news and update developing stories. Consequently, a lot of pertinent content has the potential to get lost in the shuffle (case in point: this blog). With that in mind, Thompson will spend the next nine months as an RJI Fellow creating and encylopedic webiste that hosts a database of related stories so that relevant background information is available and doesn’t only last the three to four minutes users stay on the home page.

Brian Storm, founder of MediaStorm:

Perhaps the most exciting–and well attended–presentation was Storm’s talk on his company, MediaStorm. MediaStorm is a multimedia Internet-based publication that offers in-depth profile stories that employ photo, video and audio tools to shed light on basic human struggles: coping with death, coping with war, maintaining friendships, caring for sick loved ones, navigating new marriage and more.

The paramount idea that Storm tried to get across to his audience was that a committment to storytelling should always trump the medium through which the stories are told.

“It’s not about the delivery mechanism,” Storm said. “It’s about journalism and transmitting the stories. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to tell stories.”

To put it into perspective, Storm speculated on what it must have been like to be the owner of a horse and buggy business when the first automobiles came on the market. Storm said that, instead of batting a cynical eye, the business owner should have been quick to embrace the new development because of a key fact: He isn’t just in the buggy business; he’s in the transportation business.

So it is for journalists. We aren’t in the still camera business, or the radio business, or the newspaper business; we’re in the business of telling stories.

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Rewarding the Enduring Values of Radio-Television Journalism

Posted by Emily Reinbott on September 13, 2008

Walking into this session about broadcast journalism and values, I really didn’t know what to expect.  I am quite positive I don’t want to go into broadcast journalism so I don’t know much about the people and business.  I also wasn’t really sure what they meant by “values”.  I thought maybe that meant like telling the truth, you know, the simple stuff.  So really, I didn’t know what to expect at all.  Surprisingly, I listened to one of the most motivating talks I have ever heard.

During my three short weeks as a journalism student, I have heard over and over again of the uncertainty of the future of journalism.  Bob Priddy, the mediator of the panel, compared the future to “playing with a deck where all 52 cards are wild.  [Journalists] are still trying to learn the game.  We don’t even know what the game is.”  The dilemma; how to keep up with the changing audience but still hold true to the values on which Walter Williams founded the Missouri School of Journalism.

Journalism, contrary to popular belief, is supposed to be a public service.  It’s not about being flashy; it’s about finding stories that mean something.  John Ferrugia, a member of the panel, showed a video that his team had spent months researching.  It was about rape within the Air Force Academy.  This particular investigation brought about changes worldwide.  That is what it means to provide for the public.  That is why people should get into journalism.  It’s not about the fame and glory because really, the fame and glory are nonexistent.  It’s not being on TV and gaining recognition.  Journalism is about bringing problems into light so they can be resolved.

As I listened, I silently let out a sigh of relief.  I don’t want to spend my life writing about kittens in trees and the dangers of doorknobs.  I want to write about things that matter.  I thought I was just crazy for thinking I could do this within the journalism world but, apparently, this is what journalists are suppose to do! I am so excited!

But as I said before, the world of journalism is changing as the audience looks for a more convenient and digital form of media.  At first, media came in the form of a weekly newspaper.  Then it upgraded to the daily news and then news channels, such as CNN, were created to put on a constant stream of news.  But even this is not enough.  The Internet is now becoming a main source of constantly up to date news.  Newspapers and television are being thrown by the way side because of their inconvenience.  Marketing is now taking a larger role in the world of journalism.  Sadly, this means that those stories that can change the world are not being sought after.  They require lots of time and money, money newsrooms don’t have to spend.  The easy stories about kitty cats and doorknobs are much easier to fund but that is not journalism.  Those stories do nothing for the good of the public.  Keeping to the journalism creed, we journalists need to suck it up, put in those 14 hour work days, get those stories that mean the most and try not worry about the money.

At the end of this session, I looked at my partner, Becky, and said, “Wow, lets go write!”  It took such a load off my shoulders to know that, yes, I am doing the right thing with my life.  I can help people with my words.  All I have to do now is work my butt off!

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Best of the President’s Roundtable

Posted by Daniel Everson on September 13, 2008

Technology, communication, and journalism industry leaders convened in Jesse Auditorium Friday afternoon to discuss the futures of technology and journalism. The session, officially titled “Communication for a Digital Globe,” was taped by KETC/Channel 9 of St. Louis for future broadcast. University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee hosted the roundtable, and Russ Mitchell, BJ ’82, of CBS News moderated the discussion. The seven panelists were

  • Carol Loomis, Senior Editor at Large, Fortune;
  • Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO, AT&T Mobility;
  • Sue Bostrom, Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, Cisco;
  • David Dorman, Chairman of the Board, Motorola, Inc.;
  • Mark Hoffman, President, CNBC;
  • Amy McCombs, President and CEO, Women’s Foundation of California;
  • Dave Senay, President and CEO, Fleishman-Hillard.

Below are some of the best of the comments offered by these experts. (I say “some” because to capture all the great insights would be an impossible task.)

 

On the future of handheld wireless devices (Blackberries, iPhones, etc.):

“Devices will be more complex and yet simpler to use.” —de la Vega

“Technology evolves in step functions, not always smoothly.” —Dorman

“We have to have both the content and the devices together.” —Bostrom

“I think it’s (wireless communication) making the world smaller. It’s making the world more accessible.” —Hoffman

“If the market sees value in the new apps, they’ll survive.” —Hoffman

“If you build it, they will come, and they will find it.” —Hoffman

 

On the mainstream media:

“When I graduated, there was no such word as ‘convergence.'” —Mitchell

“The mainstream media have got their head out of the sand and have really started to move forward. … Look at where the elephants are dancing—and you want to make sure they’re dancing and not rushing at you. … I think we have a lot of those elephants at this table.” —McCombs

“There have been many times in history where (people said) the mainstream media would be dead. … I think none of it will die. I think all of it will change. There will be written word … on paper. There will be written word … on wireless devices.” —Hoffman

“I probably have my feet stuck in the mud of the mainstream media more than anyone else (on the panel), and I can tell you, we’re trying to slog out of it. … There’s always going to be a market for trusted information, but the question is who’s gonna pay for it.” —Loomis

“You will see our students inventing the future of journalism (at the new Reynolds Journalism Institute).” —audience member Dean Mills, dean of the Missouri School of Journalism

“Where the quality comes in is (in) the analysis, in the thorough discussion of what’s going on. … If we do let ourselves get away from that which is fundamental in journalism—and that is telling the story—we’re going to have a pretty boring society.” —Hoffman

 

On credibility:

“If you had to pick one thing, I think that’d be the one that you’d pick. … Credibility, which is quality, is at the center of every successful media (outlet).” —Hoffman

“Credibility, regardless of the medium you use, is important. … I think it is better … to just let the credibility sort itself out.” —de la Vega

“It’s the self-policing nature of the Internet.” —Bostrom

 

On citizen journalism:

“When I hear terms like ‘citizen journalist,’ it strikes me like ‘amateur physician.'” —Dorman

“I wonder if people are flocking to places of comfort, rather than places of tension, of dialogue.” —Senay

“The journalist today is engaged in a seminar and not in a one-way lecture anymore.” —McCombs

“Does it scare anyone that there are no gatekeepers? I know it scares me.” —Mitchell

“I can tell you I’ve been misquoted online as many times as I have in the traditional media.” —de la Vega

“The idea of the gatekeeper is very frightening. … The role of the journalist is really the curator, helping (the reader) to wander through the vast array (of information).” —McCombs

 

On future communications and interactions among people:

“It’s not about the power of physical connection, it’s about the human network.” —Bostrom

“Informing people, persuading people, and connecting people with people—that sounds like a great description of the Internet.” —Senay

“The market itself, the killer application, is still people talking to each other.” —Dorman

“I was talking to an 18-year-old who thought e-mail was passé.” —McCombs

 

Advice for current students in the J-school:

“Consider the mainstream media notion a pretty elastic notion.” —Senay

“This is a great time to be in school here. … Be the risk-taker and an entrepreneur.” —McCombs

“Journalism is going to be with us forever. … It’s gonna be more complicated. You’re gonna have to have all the fundamental skills. … It’s gonna get more complicated on one end, but it’s got to stay as pure as its ever been on the other.” —Hoffman

“The opportunity all of you have is to become an expert.” —Bostrom

“Don’t run away from the challenges. Inside every challenge is an opportunity.” —de la Vega

Posted in Centennial Post, Friday, Media, RJI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Dedication of the New Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

Posted by Becky Dale on September 12, 2008

Long before the start of the dedication ceremony, I bustle through the doors of the Reynolds Journalism Institute only to find myself bombarded with journalists, friends, family, and distant relations from all sides. The girl at the door gave me one of those tired smiles that have become such a rarity in the past few days. I guess the festivities have been wearing on her.

I, however, felt that surge of adrenaline akin to the start of the Mizzou football games, but on a different level. The excitement in the room was intoxicating. Mingling would be more accurately described as apologetically pushing and shoving to reach a place where I could see the podium as well as the then-covered Donald W. Reynolds bust.

Dean Mills, his face projected across the four plasma screens on the wall in the opening between the first floor and the Futures Lab below, began the ceremony with the exact time that had passed since the opening of the Missouri School of Journalism, down to the hour. Standing on this monumental day in the RJI, Mills pronounced it a “new institution for this century.” And indeed it should be.

After a significant list of the key players in the coordination, planning, and construction of the RJI, and after a few words from various leaders in Mizzou’s world of journalism, director of the Journalism Institute Pam Johnson introduced a video depicting five Donald W. Reynolds Fellows projects underway behind RJI doors.

Bill Densmore of the University of Massachussets-Amherst recognizes the Internet as a terribly convenient, though sometimes overall terrible, source of information. His goal in “The Information Valet” is to secure the internet for users, thus maximizing convenience as well as privacy. This work will sustain the credibility of journalism.

Margaret Duffy of the Strategic Communications department at MU found herself observing the youth market of today. With youth and young adults accessing information in such a different manner from even one generation before, Duffy plans to answer the question of why harness that information for the expansion of journalism.

Mike Fancher, retired president of the Seattle Times, chose to focus on the Journalism Creed. While the creed itself is upstanding even in today’s world, he admits to some new elements that desperately need to be added. These standards are the same for which the public holds journalists accountable, and an updating public has updated standards. Technology will find its way into the creed.

Jen Reeves has been “a pioneer in using non-traditional delivery sources…in order to deliver content,” claims the Centennial/Dedication Program. However, these non-traditional ways are used every day for the personal use of non-journalists. Jen sees, indeed takes part, in the use of these sources and has founded her own multimedia, multi-platform news hub which she calls SmartDecision08.com. This hub aims to push the collaboration of multimedia projects and the newsroom. This will ultimately expand the options of journalism and hopefully profits as well.

Jane Stevens came to MU from the University of California, Berkeley with specialization in science and technology. She plans to create what she calls “shells,” networks that encourage the collaboration of community members and journalists. Two current shells focus on ocean news and information and on child trauma. While the reporters serve as fact-checkers and viable sources, communities are able to use these shells as means to help address and solve issues.

Deputy Web editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune Matt Thompson plans to make good use of the bane of all English teachers–Wikipedia. Tentatively called “Wikipedia-ing the News,” Thompson hopes to create a news base as extensive as Wikipedia, with more reliable sources: the very reporters who put the facts in circulation to begin with.

Chancellor Brady Deaton stood to congratulate Mizzou for the addition of its new building and to insist “to whom much is given, much is expected.” Journalism students working out of this state-of-the art building have greater commitments and responsibilities in store for them.

President Gary Forsee applauded the great accomplishment of the faculty and administration. Their leadership and skills have set Mizzou as a model for other universities. The RJI will “lead the journalism school to greater distinction.”

Words from the Board of Curators, Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman, and Governor Matt Blunt are not to be shoved aside. All three spoke of the integrity and innovation that the RJI now stands for and the traditions that must be carried on by current and future journalism students.

Perhaps the most revered guest of all, though, was Fred W. Smith, Chairman of the Reynolds Foundation. The Alumni Center, dedicated in 1992, was the last building that Don Reynolds himself saw make its beginnings on the Mizzou campus. Smith shared heartwarming stories about Don’s attachment to MU, particularly the tigers, and his hope that the RJI would “perpetuate the entrepreneurial spirit” of Mizzou’s journalism students–the world’s finest.

Mr. Smith ended his speech to  a standing ovation on the part of the room that was not already standing. Dean Mills took the opportunity to invite everyone to watch the unveiling of the bust, and so ended the dedication. Alumni then adjourned to share in some of their favorite MU-famous Tiger Stripe ice cream and to continue talking and networking.

The Centennial’s Closing Ceremony at 8pm would be a bittersweet farewell for some, but the mark of a new beginning for all.

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The Reynolds Journalism Institute: Already Classic?

Posted by Mike Robertson on September 12, 2008

The new Reynolds Journalism Institute has only allowed three days for photographers to capture its beauty and grandeur and already I’m seeing some ‘classic’ shots. These ‘classic’ shots are the photos that everyone and anyone has to take. For instance, here on campus, The Columns and Jesse Hall from the Quad; in St. Louis, the Gateway Arch; etc. The fact is that the RJI is such a beautiful building that every single inch of it could soon become part of a ‘classic’ shot. Sadly, this has not happened so far and I have decided to help change that.

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Community KnowledgeBase

Posted by absolutelyape on September 12, 2008

When people aren’t connected to their community, said Lewis Friedland, they don’t read the news. They aren’t as concerned with becoming socially and civically responsible or educated.

Community Knowledgebase was created on this concept – the software searches a newspapers’ archives and keeps track of contacts withing hundred of groups. The groups are organized by race, religion, job, well-known citizens in the community.

These types of software seem to be very helpful in a newsroom (ah, how far we have progressed from the traditional Morgue). No doubt they speed up the process of source-hunting… but I wonder about the dangers of depending on a software like this. Will reporters visit the same community contacts when they have a story on a specific community or issue? For example, if they are writing a story on an issue in the Hispanic community, will they click on “Hispanic community,” see four sources (that’s how many there are for the Columbia database, through the Missourian), and rely on those four for their information?

I suppose this is the danger within any newsroom – a constricted database of sources. I just wonder how much new journalists may find themselves depending on technological software like CKB because it’s easier than scouring the actual community for significant sources.

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Watchdog Reporting and New Forms of Investigative Journalism

Posted by Julie Willbrand on September 12, 2008

Five highly acclaimed journalists discussed the future of investigative journalism in this panel-styled forum. 

One common theme among the speakers was the importance of convergence.  Alison Young of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution talked about the concept of “pitchers and catchers,” roles that allow journalists to “serve it while it’s hot” by sharing the positions of content generators and presenters.

James V. Grimaldi of The Washington Post focused on his recent article on Sarah Palin and the importance of generating website hits through the use of article-to-article links.  “Traffic doesn’t come through the homepage, it comes laterally through other people linking,” he said.

Manny Garcia of the Miami Herald discussed a type of “culture change” he’s seen in the newsroom since the advent of the online strategy.  He thinks of it as “A.P. with context.  Write with authority, write without apologies; if you know what you’re writing about, you shouldn’t have to apologize for it.”

Lea Thompson, formerly with NBC News, stressed that teaming up takes pressure off a single journalist, allowing individuals to specialize in their respective areas. 

Cheryl Philips of The Seattle Times articulated the importance of hooking readers on an online story.  “What our web people are interested in is how ‘sticky’ something is,” she said.  “What can you surround that story with that will keep them on your site longer?”

Forum-members Cheryl Phillips of the Seattle Times and Lea Thompson, formerly with NBC News, discuss with alumni and students alike their topic of "Watchdog Reporting and New Forms of Investigative Journalism" in Gannett Hall Thursday afternoon.

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Community Newspapers: Learn How Main Street America Responds to Local News and Advertising

Posted by mcszr3 on September 11, 2008

In today’s new media age, many Americans have begun to question the relevance of newspapers. There has been concern about newspaper journalists being laid off and companies being forced to downsize because of decreased interest in the newspaper media. However, while a hundred or so large newspapers may be experiencing some issues keeping their readership constant, today’s forum assured the audience that the more than 22,000 community newspapers across America still have a very important role in this rapidly changing world.

The forum on community newspapers was led by Brian Steffens from the National Newspaper Association, the very same association which our own Walter Williams presided over about ten years before he founded the J-School here at Mizzou. Steffens began by admitting the current media “sounds pretty grim for newspaper,” but then introduced the Associate Director of Research in the Reynolds Institute, Kenneth Fleming, to present a careful study done by our Reynolds Institute.

The presentation looked at the current status and future of community newspapers in today’s Internet age, and “examined the values of community newspapers in serving local democracy in today’s new media environment and explore opportunities.” The studies were conducted in 2005, 2007 and 2008, with the sample population growing more rural each year. The first study concentrated on areas with a population around 100,000, then under 50,000 people in 2007, and finally, the 2008 study only surveyed readers of newspapers with a circulation of less than 25,000. Fortunately for our local journalists, results were strongly in favor of community newspapers.

Statistics from the study showed that in 2005, about 82% of people read a local newspaper at least once a week. Now, in 2008, that proportion is up to 86%. The average time spent reading the newspaper also increased, by about seven minutes in the past three years. Even when compared to other news mediums, community newspapers fared surprisingly well. Newspapers have a two-to-one margin over television as the preferred source for local news, followed by friends and relatives, the radio, and lastly, the Internet.

This startling disuse of the Internet as a local news medium shocked many of the journalists on the forum panel. But in fact, 59% of the population surveyed in 2008 claimed they never use the Internet to check local news. The qualitative studies were also interestingly in the favor of newspapers: While 96% of readers rate the coverage of news in their local newspapers as fair to excellent, only 79% of readers are as pleased with the online news coverage. This trend is continued in other aspects of journalism, such as the accuracy, quality of writing, and fairness of reporting in both mediums. In each category, newspapers beat out Internet sources by about ten percent. Steffens points out, “You might get news online [but] the accuracy and coverage is valued in local newspaper.”

Aside from local news, community newspapers also prove to be an effective method of advertising. Local papers are the primary source for grocery shopping information by a two-to-one margin over in-store advertising. This overwhelming preference for newspapers as a source of shopping information is continued in products such as building, home improvement, home furniture, and major appliances. The only shopping category which is threatened by the Internet is building and home improvement products, but even then the web is 15% behind newspapers.

The main points driven across by the study in the end is that newspapers have not lost their role in our American communities. They continue to be an effective and leading way to advertise and sell products and services, and also the primary source for sports results, local news, and obituaries. The study did find that newspaper readership was strongly correlated to age (older people read more), income (those with higher incomes read more), and gender (females read more).

At the conclusion of the detailed presentation, the panel was invited to the front to answer questions. The all-star cast included:

  • Michael Abernathy, Landmark Community Newspapers, Inc. Abernathy oversees more than fifty newspapers in community markets, headquartered in Shelbyville, KY.
  • Wally Lage, COO of Rust Communications. Lage is a Mizzou alumni and will be inducted to the Missouri Press Hall of Fame on Friday night.
  • Dave Berry, Community Publishers, Inc. Berry’s papers are circulated in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. He runs operations in Springfield and is a member of the NAA Board of Directors.
  • Ralph Gage, The World Company and WorldWest LLC. Gage runs the special projects division.
  • Steve Haynes, The Oberlin Herald and Nor’West Newspapers. Haynes is also the President of NNA and publishes half a dozen papers in northwest Kansas.
Reflecting on the accuracy of Fleming’s presentation, the panel agreed that the study was a fair statistical analysis of community newspapers in America. Abernathy stated, “Research that [I have seen] seemed to match the belief that we have in the strength of community newspapers.” Haynes also added that the figures “pretty much reflect we we see [in Nor’West Newspapers].” Berry concurred with the other panelists, but comically added, “I believe the data that’s in this report, it’s pretty revealing, but I think we need to be careful not to put too much lipstick on the pig.”

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Candidates’ Forum: Missouri Governor’s Race

Posted by Grace Lillard on September 11, 2008

On the anniversary of the September 11th attacks and the second day of the J-School Centennial, the candidates for the Missouri gubernatorial race met on campus to take part in the first of a series of debates before the November election.  The combined reverence for this date and the nearby celebration of the history of journalism reminded everyone in the room that the fundamentals of democracy, anchored in free speech and press, must ultimately be upheld in order to preserve our great nation.

Moderator of today’s forum was David Lieb of the Associated Press.  The panelists included Terry Ganey, of the Columbia Daily Tribune and the Missouri Press Association; Jennifer Kovaleski of KOMU; Chad Day, of the Columbia Missourian; and Juana Summers of KBIA.

The four candidates began with five minute opening statements.  According to the procedure of drawing numbers, the Republican candidate, Kenny Hulshof, began the remarks.  His platform is one of “bold proposals” to inspire change in Missouri.  Hulshof stated that while he esteems his opponent, Attorney General Jay Nixon, the beauty of our democracy is that he can do so while disagreeing with him on certain issues.  Hulshof summarized that he can offer the people of Missouri a new direction, as an alternative to the old politics they are used to.

The Libertarian candidate, Andy Finkenstadt, followed.  Finkenstadt introduced himself as a computer software engineer who knows how to solve problems put before him and address any issue in a methodical way.  The name of the Libertarian Party, he said, is derived from the word “liberty” and therefore is the only party that seeks a world where all individuals are sovereign over themselves.  He promised the people of the state of Missouri the right to live in whatever manner they choose, as long as their actions do not encroach upon the rights of others.  “Your right to swing your fist stops at my nose,” Finkenstadt explained.  If elected governor, Finkenstadt would reduce taxes by reducing the size of government, in accordance with the Libertarian platform.

In his opening statements, the Democratic candidate, Jay Nixon, noted that on the anniversary of 9/11 we should all remember what it is that unites us as Americans, and put aside partisan attacks.  He said that the state of Missouri is at a crossroads, and that he can provide the best course of action to solve problems of rising health care costs, higher college tuitions, loss of jobs, and an inefficient elementary education system.

Completing the opening statements was Greg Thompson of the Constitutional Party.  His platform, he said, is founded on God and the desire to turn our country around.  The past decades have seen “an assault on our godly heritage” and increasing levels of corruption.  As Missouri’s leader, Thompson vowed to restore the idea of government serving the people, instead of the people feeling that they must serve their government.  He also emphasized the importance of seeing beyond the two party system.  “God,” he said, “will never honor voting for the least of two evils.”

As the rounds of questioning began, it was interesting to see how each candidate’s answers reflected his previously stated position.  For example, Finkenstadt responded to questions on health care, alternative energy, and education by saying that they should be allocated by the free market, and not by government design.  Thompson answered his questions from the viewpoint of placing the sovereignty of God first and taking control out of the hands of men.  Nixon and Hulshof comprised the norm of the Democratic/Republican debate, disagreeing to a point but remaining relatively close to the middle of voter opinion.

There was one opportunity for rebuttal offered after Nixon brought up a controversy between himself and his opponent Hulshof, on the issue of campaign contribution limits.  The air between the two became noticeably charged, and for a moment, it appeared that Nixon’s appeal to non partisanship might be put by the wayside.  After a neutralizing comment by moderator David Lieb to the effect that time would not allow for “a rebuttal to the rebuttal,” the atmosphere regained its peaceable nature.

I felt that today’s debate was a refreshing take on political discussion, giving people the opportunity to hear not from just two candidates, but from representatives of four different political parties.  As the afternoon demonstrated, the citizens of Missouri have four men eager and willing to lead their state on a new path towards the future.  November will tell whose direction the people will take.

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More on the Pulitzer Prize Panel

Posted by Zach Parolin on September 11, 2008

Earlier today, fellow freshman Sam Butterfield provided an excellent, accurate synopsis of the words of former Pulitzer winners Jacqui Banaszynski, Steve Fainaru, James Grimaldi, Jeff Leen, Mike McGraw, James Steele and Seymour Topping. As Sam expressed, receiving the opportunity to witness their words was an incredibly humbling experience.

With over a dozen of the industry’s most prestigious awards between them, the panelists spoke about how their own Pulitzer experiences came about, referencing the career changes that ensued and the stories that made them all possible. With the amount of attention and respect that this award demands, it is important to understand how the recognition process works. 

There are 14 categories for which a Pulitzer Prize may be awarded. These categories range from public service to editorial cartooning, with, of course, the many subcategories of news writing in between. For each category, there is a selected jury that reads over submitted material. The jury is only allowed to send three selections from its category to Pulitzer Board, which ultimately determines the single winner. There were 1,167 submissions this year in all categories.

As some of the panelists explained, the “bigger” newspapers don’t necessarily have a better shot at having a reporter win a Pulitzer, but they are generally able to provide more resources for their reporters, enabling them to research more effectively and, consequently, write a better story.

Photo by: Emily Becker.

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