The AEJMC annual conference is the highlight for many faculty in the field of journalism and mass communication.
Academics and students from across the world, though mainly from the US, come together to share the results of their research and discuss the future of journalism and communication.
Like just about every organisation in the media business, the AEJMC itself is grappling with change.
I was unable to go to this year’s conference in Boston. But in past years, I have been frustrated at the conservative, and at times, reactionary tone of discussions.
For me, these attitudes are encapsulated in the phrase “blogging isn’t journalism”, still being repeated at last year’s conference.
Others in journalism education share these frustrations. Steve Fox, multimedia Journalism Coordinator at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has expressed these in a blog post, pleading with the AEJMC to “WAKE UP!”
This is the first time Fox has attended the AEJMC, and he has been dismayed at the overall print-centric focus of the conference:
Many, including Dan Gillmor and Eric Newton (who were on the same panel as Kennedy), have said that academic institutions are places where innovation and experimentation can and should be happening.
That refreshing thinking has been noticeably absent in many corners of this conference. We as educators have a tremendous opportunity at gatherings like this to set the agenda on the future of the industry. Lamenting about the role of Twitter in news delivery isn’t the way to go.
According to Fox, “the us vs. them characterizations of bloggers and the twitterverse has dominated many discussions,” even though the AEJMC is on Twitter.
This is a tired approach that does nothing to advance the discussion on the future of journalism.
As Fox says; “We need to shift the conversations”.