Home » Events/Meetings »Media »St. Louis County » Currently Reading:

Patterson to Speak on Convergence in Journalism

August 8, 2006 Events/Meetings, Media, St. Louis County 4 Comments

Today I will be participating in a panel discussing the convergence of technology in journalism at a luncheon of the Society of Professional Journalists. Despite protests saying I’m not a journalist, much less professional, I was asked to participate. I have been paid for writing so perhaps I am a professional writer? The other panelists are the real deal, Dale Singer of the Post-Dispatch and Bill Raack, KWMU’s News Director. The moderator will be David Nicklaus of the Post-Dispatch.

I was introduced to the term “Convergence Journalism” in a way typical of blogging — through a comment on a post. Regular readers my recall this comment from “Megan” from earlier this year:

I am a Journalism student at the University of Missouri-Columbia. I heard about your blog through various sources and I decided to check it out.

Recently, in one of my Journalism classes we discussed the dangers of blogging to the field of Convergence Journalism. The Convergence field of Journalism is a newly recognized (it is the first year this sequence has been offered at MIZZOU) sequence that focuses mostly on Online Publishing and Online Periodicals (CBSNews.com, etc). The problem of blogging is that in creating a blog and deeming it a title so decidedly journalistically inclined as the “Urban Review” you are lending a false credibility to yourself and, in essence, misleading those who may misinterpret your articles as truth instead of simply your opinion. I am sure that you think that you are very unbiased but the truth is that as a Journalism student I am horrified at what blogs like yours will mean for the future of Convergence Journalism. I can see that you have been praised by several in my future chosen field, but I am simply horrified and insulted by your irresponsible use of a blog for your own ulterior motives.

While accepting my role in local media I have never once called myself a journalist. The various roles are certainly melding together and technology changes. Nearly everyone reading my site gets that I am espousing my own opinion, not presenting an unbiased look at the built environment.

Naturally I contacted Mizzou’s School of Journalism to see what it is they are teaching that got Megan so upset as to call me “irresponsible.” Here is a response from one of the professors in Convergence Journalism:

While I can’t speak on behalf of the entire Convergence faculty, the student’s views as expressed on your blog comments do not reflect my views and I suspect they are not at all representative of the views of my colleagues on the Convergence faculty. I don’t think Megan is actually a student in the Convergence sequence as she seems to have an unclear idea of what our program is all about.

It wouldn’t shock me if there were some journalism faculty who shared her views, but I hope her notions of blogging are a result of youth and inexperience and not something she was told in class. When I was her age I thought I knew everything too.

Convergence is all around us. The Post-Dispatch is beginning to incorporate video on stltoday.com, TV stations have written stories on their websites, and radio stations are including written stories as well as having podcasts available for download. Video, audio and the written word are all coming together from formerly separate sources. Everyone is learning as major newspapers now find themselves competing not only with TV, Radio and weekly papers but with small papers such as the Arch City Chronicle. TV stations, limited by time, are competing with more detailed video from sources such as PubDef. I have no stats to prove my theory but I believe as people continue to read sites such as this they are reducing their use of more traditional media.

On a side note, today’s luncheon will be held in a blighted area. Yes, those brave journalists are making their way to a blighted area awaiting redevelopment. Don’t worry for them, however, as the luncheon is in Clayton at the upscale Bar Napoli. Centene corporation plans to raze most of the block to expand their headquarters.

– Steve


Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. travis reems says:

    Welcome back to St. Louis, Steve. Don’t forget to vote.

  2. Tom says:

    Should be an intersting topic. Throw in the mayor’s recent blog about the Post Dispatch as well as former PD staffer Bob Duffy’s speach about the PD printed in the Arch City Chronicle, the topic certainly is timely.

    What I find from the blogs is information (and opinion) about issues that concern me that the mainstream media does not cover or does so superficially. I believe Arch City broke some important political news such as major funding of Gambario’s democrat primary race and the Republican Funding of the Show Me institute which is trying to portray itself as a non partisan think tank.

    Good work is going on in the Blogs. Yours as well Steve. With Bob gone from the Post, no one is writing about urban design issues as they should.

    Keep it up.


    BJ Mizzou

  3. jeff says:

    How could someone be horrified by the opinions on this site, and not horrified by outlets such as Fox News that I would assume Megan sees as “OK”?

  4. Josh says:

    Journalism, as I see it, is such an ambigous term in todays media rich society. Most news sources these days are just rephrasing the Associated Press. I’d be hard pressed to find any “real” journalism in most news sources these days.

    While I know that you, Steve, do not claim to be a journalist, what you do really is by definition journalism. I don’t always agree with your perspectives, however I do recognize your blogging as a form of serious journalism. You attend events, you do research, you conduct interviews (phone, e-mail, and personal) and you post your observations and conclusions. While you obviously do quite a bit more editorializing than many might want to see in their local papers, that’s why you have a weblog. Journalism, today, is one of the most subjective terms I can think of. What others might consider to be journalism, I (someone who has had a good deal of formal education in the field) might consider to be something completely different.

    But you’d have to be pretty misguided not to recognize urbanreview as a serious form of journalism, whether or not you explicitly label or acknowledge it as such. The biggest difference is that your work doesn’t have to pass through the editor, who will inevitably destroy its integrity.


Comment on this Article: