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UW-Eau Claire to Host Discussion on Future of Journalism

RELEASED: April 3, 2009

EAU CLAIRE — A panel discussion on "The Future of Journalism" will begin at 7 p.m. April 14 in Room 101 of Hibbard Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The program is free and open to the public.

Panelists will discuss what the future holds for student journalism majors, educators and the general public given the significant problems facing American journalism. As ad revenues have declined, some newspapers have closed or gone exclusively online; others are cutting staff size and many are trying a mix of print and Internet distribution. Radio and television stations have seen layoffs, shared staff and furloughed employees.

Questions to be discussed during the panel discussion include: Can print and broadcast news media find a viable economic model that melds their traditional delivery systems with the Internet? How does MinnPost.com stay afloat? What does convergence mean for journalism students preparing to enter the field and for the professionals already there? Will there be jobs for the current generation of journalism students? What does convergence demand of advertising and PR students and professionals who work with the news media in their own professional careers? What challenges do these changes pose for the goal of informing citizens so they can make knowledgeable choices when they vote?

Panelists will include:

  • Mark Baker, publisher of Chippewa Valley Newspapers, including the Chippewa Herald in Chippewa Falls. Baker oversees daily, weekly, online, shopper, magazine and commercial print operations for Lee Enterprises in western Wisconsin. He began his 30-plus years in the industry on the news side and became a publisher in 1995. His staff has earned awards as "best small daily newspaper" in Wisconsin three of the last four years.
  • Scott Libin, news director at WCCO-TV in the Twin Cities. Libin led seminars for journalists at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in Florida from 1995-98 and from 2003-07, specializing in leadership and ethical decision making. From 1998-2003 he was news director of KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities, and he previously spent nine years at WGHP-TV in Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem, N.C., where he started as a reporter and later served as weekend anchor, managing editor, news director and vice president of news.
  • Marisa Helms, a Twin Cities journalist with freelance and full-time experience in radio, print and online media. For the past 15 years Helms has written and produced news stories for public radio, newspapers and the Internet. She has worked as a reporter/producer in San Francisco and Detroit, as well as for Minnesota Public Radio, and she now works as a freelancer in the Twin Cities, where she has covered the state legislature for Forum Newspapers, contributes regularly to MinnPost.com and writes and produces for public radio.
  • Megan Peterson, UW-Eau Claire broadcast journalism senior and president of the student Society of Professional Journalists chapter. In her first three years at UW-Eau Claire, Peterson worked on the news program at the campus TV station as a reporter, sports anchor and newscast anchor, and she was hired last year at WEAU-TV as a production assistant. She interned in the WEAU-TV newsroom last summer and spent much of January as a newsroom intern at KSTP-TV as the Henry Lippold Fellow.

Mike Rindo, executive director of University Communications and special assistant to the chancellor at UW-Eau Claire, will serve as moderator.

The April 14 program is sponsored by the Western Wisconsin Press Club and the UW-Eau Claire student SPJ chapter.

-30-

JB/JP

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