February 10, 2009

What happens when the newsroom lights dim?

Press release detailing why I get to drive to Boston and eat a box lunch next month:

BOSTON, Feb 09, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Declines in the quantity or quality of local news, and the impact on participatory democracy in New England communities, is the topic of a daylong collaboration among public officials, journalists and concerned citizens set for Saturday, March 21. "Newsout: Options and strategies for New England communities when the newsroom lights dim," is co-sponsored by the New England News Forum (NENF), the Boston University College of Communication and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.
The conference will be held from 10am- 3pm at Boston University's College of Communication. A $45 registration fee includes a box lunch and one-year NENF membership.
Featured speakers are Steve Clift, founder of Publicus.Net; Joe Bergantino, director of new New England Center for Investigative Journalism; Jane Stevens, a Donald W. Reynolds fellow at the University of Missouri; Carol Amick, former editor of the Bedford [Mass.] Minuteman weekly, a one-time Massachusetts state senator; and Steve Collins, a reporter with The Bristol Press, a Connecticut daily which nearly closed in January.
Many newspapers are closing their doors or reducing staff size as they scramble to stay afloat amid declining revenues. In the last 18 months, some 15,000 U.S. journalists have lost their jobs through retirement, buyouts or layoffs.
"The impact is greatest at the local and state levels," explained Meredith McCulloch, Interim Director of the News Forum, located at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. "As the number of reporters declines, the watchdog role of the press is reduced
Advertising, and the revenue it brings, is migrating from newspapers to a variety of web sites. The resultant revenue shortfall for newspapers is compounded by the recent economic downturn. Newspapers no longer have the funds required to cover local and state government as in the past. Many are working on a new financial model for the press, but no clear solutions are on the horizon.
The New England News Forum (NENF) is collaboration among news professionals, citizen journalists, educators and the public. It aims to increase public trust and deepen public understanding of the news media by promoting the practice of trusted, thorough, and accountable journalism. For additional information, call 413-577-4370,
SOURCE: New England News Forum New England News Forum
Meredith McCulloch, 781-275-6256

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


cseguin said...

Sounds really interesting, and as a Boston U. journalism alum, I'm happy my alma mater is putting on this type of program. Hope you enjoy the event!

Anonymous said...

Give 'em hell, Steve!