Friday, March 13, 2009


Friday, March 13, 2009

I'm writing this from the breakfast room of a Holiday Inn in New York.

No, not Manhattan or even the Bronx. Not New York City at all, although I can say I'm in close proximity to the Big Apple.

I'm in a town called Stony Brook, home of Stony Brook University, where I've been attending a news literacy conference and meeting a marvelously eclectic group of people ranging from a high school librarian from Illinois to a man from Spain who works for the United Nations' media literacy program. Most people who attended are university presidents, college professors and high school teachers. That's because Stony Brook is promoting its News Literacy curriculum and program, hoping to help others to implement it or something similar.

A few industry people were here, most notably Neil Budde, formerly with Wall Street Journal Online and Yahoo! News and now with; Andrew Heyward, former president of CBS News; Ted Koppel, now senior news analyst for NPR and a contributing analyst for BBC America; Vivian Schiller, president and CEO of NPR and former senior vice-president for; and Alexandra Wallace, senior vice-president of NBC news.

Some news innovators were here giving presentations about, Link TV's Know the News project, Poynter's NewsU, and other projects including some that reach around the world.

What was the outcome?

Monday, March 16, 2009

I'm writing this from home sweet home in Pinellas County, Florida.

I'm still sorting through my impressions of last week's news literacy conference, as well as the impressions of a conference in St. Pete the week before called Journalism That Matters.

Aside from all the interesting people I met from all over the world this past two weeks, and aside from how strongly I feel that the news industry has an important function to fulfill in society, I am more and more disturbed by that same news industry's current definitions of 'news,' of 'journalism that matters,' and of 'news literacy.'

Oh no, I hear some of you saying. This sounds like it may be the beginning of another diatribe or sermon. At the least, another scathing letter to Somebody In Charge.

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