THOUGHTS ON JOURNALISM
Where’s the profession headed?
“I’ve lasted through 15 layoffs,” Cathy says, “because I get the story behind the story.” She said that there is no telling what will happen tomorrow, three years from now or decades into the future, she’s got no crystal ball and is apprehensive to make predictions, but thinks newspapers are definitely headed online, but magazines will probably stick around. She notes a world of opportunity in niche magazines because that’s where the medium is headed; news or general interest magazines will probably head out. All in all, she says, the best bet is to be a storyteller; a really, really good storyteller, because regardless of what may change, there’s one thing that will always be true.. By Amanda McCormick
Told in the 70s she could never make any money being a journalist and even bother getBOOTH-THOMAS shouldn’t ting a degree, Cathy wasn’t fazed and set out on an enviable newspaper to magazine to professor career. An OU grad and seasoned pro, Cathy is a sharp-shooting, tell-it-like-it-is lady with all the right words and an incredible journalism journey under her belt. She’s paraded around with musicians, broke big news after spending a week with Steve Jobs, sat down with Stephen King, got the dirt on Monica Lewinsky, dealt with Rick Perry’s ‘people’ and dished out details on Madonna’s past loves, to name a few.
“Good storytelling will always survive.”
MICHAEL J. MOONEY
“Print has to be timeless, whereas a blog has to be the exact opposite. It has to be timely” Michael J. Mooney is a Staff Writer for D Magazine. He is 31, a graduate from the Mayborn Graduate Institute with a master’s degree in journalism, and has lived in Texas since he was 5 years old. He began his journalism career in 2006 as a freelancer for the Dallas Morning News while still a graduate student. In 2007, he joined the staff of the Dallas Morning News as a writer and intern. After graduating, he worked for Village Voice in Florida. While there, he freelanced for GQ Magazine and Outside Magazine. He has been at D Magazine since 2011. I sat down with him on the roof-top patio of Cool Beans, a bar in Denton, Texas, and conducted an in-depth interview with him about the future of journalism. The interview was recorded. Mooney’s Thoughts Mooney is insistent that, even in this digital age, print newspapers and magazines aren’t going anywhere. Print is seen as relevant for the long-
term, he says, while online articles are fleeting. What is on the front page of an online website might be gone the same day. “Print has to be timeless, whereas a blog has to be the exact opposite. It has to be timely,” he says. He sees the Internet as offering new avenues for writers, especially in the e-book market. Also, beginning writers have access to freelance and contributing opportunities they didn’t have before. What I Learned About the Process Conducting my first in-depth interview was a bit eye opening. I learned never to depend on my interviewee to be talkative and to come prepared with many questions. Having met Mooney before, I thought he would have a lot to say, but when interviewed, his answers are quite succinct. I would have done a bit more research into the topic of the future of journalism and come to the interview with more questions. I felt that the setting for the interview was conducive to conversation. The bar was suggested by Mooney, and the roof-top bar by me. It was outdoors, relaxed, and quiet enough for the tape recorder. By Jane LeBlanc
“There are some people who believe that newspapers still have more investment than they look, but it’s hard to tell what the future of journalism is going to be” Gayle Reaves is the managing editor of the Fort Worth Weekly newspaper. Before working at Fort Worth Weekly, Reaves was a writer and projects reporter for The Dallas Morning News. In 1973, Reaves was an honors graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a major in journalism. In 1989, Reaves was a Pulitzer Awards finalist. In 1994, because of the 14 report series called the "Violence against Women: a Question of Human Rights", which examined the violence against women in many nations, Reaves won a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. She is also a founder and former president of the Association for Women Journalists and past president of the Journalism and Women Symposium. When talking about the future of journalism, Reaves thought the situation of journalism is still grim; she said “The new organizations and media organizations are cutting in. Some online investigated publications and local publications are trying to fill the gap somewhat.” On the other hand, Reaves also mentioned that these situations may turn around someday; “the nation is helping and there are some people who believe that newspapers still have more investment than they look, but it’s hard to tell what the future of journalism is going to be” Reaves said. Gayle Reaves is getting her master degree in the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas. She is trying to develop the database reporting skills, which is taking a relational database to find the stories in the past through the mass information online. Reaves also put multiple media skills and online research skills on the top of her list that she plans to further develop in the future. By Jia Zhao
Earlier in the summer, I was able to be a part of an intensive three week writing for the literary market course with Beth Langton, adjunct professor of journalism at the Mayborn School of Journalism. I would hear her perspective on narrative journalism, and what she had learned from mentor and great writing coach George Getchow. A month or so later, we were immersed in the Mecca of narrative journalism- The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. Combined with the wisdom that was shared by some of the leading journalists of the day, I had been reading a lot of articles that described this new wave of storytelling- a paradigm shift from reporting in journalism. I also began to see a lot of buzz on Twitter about the demise of journalism due to social media. This is a paranoia of mine as I continue my education because as communicators, we are expected to fully explain a thought in 140 characters, and as Mayborn students, we know all too well the short writing tips from resident APR Dr. Roy Busby. This summer became for me a time to reflect on my role as a journalism student and hopeful professional. “Conflicted” would describe my role as a strategic communications student in a journalism program. To me, an educator with a diverse background, like Beth, would have the answers on what I should expect to see in the future of journalism. I set out to ask Beth what she thought of the evolution of narrative form in journalism. I wanted to hear what she thought about social or citizen journalism and wished for the insider’s scope on what to learn now to be employable in the future. Beth Langton recently accepted an adjunct position at the Mayborn School of Journalism after completing her master’s in journalism and certificate in narrative writing. For years Beth was a reporter for newspapers in Lubbock and Dallas. Beth discovered freelance writing “by accident” and worked for a neighborhood magazine when she returned to Dallas. “Local journalism wasn’t changing,” Beth said of her time at the magazine. “It made me realize how much outside of newspapers was out there.” She started to think how much journalism wasn’t changing, “everybody wasn’t abandoning ship and running to the internet.” Beth came back to school and has done some freelance work for the Denton Live and Mayborn Magazines. I laughed as Beth referred to the core beliefs of journalism and the dedication to diligence, accuracy, and the public service factors as the “Old Lady of Journalism.” “It suits her image” she exclaimed as she explained how newspapers have kept the traditional look online, even though it doesn’t always work. We started talking about interactive media, and what she has seen in innovation
online. I asked if she thought interactive media is a skill we all need. “Yes!” She explains that a successful journalist today will have the curiosity of a traditional journalist; they will be good communicators, but above all, flexible and multitalented. “You learn how to blog, shoot videos, write, you learn how to do it all.” In the early Internet days, having all of those skills made you a specialist; a mobile journalists. But now, every graduate is expected to have the knowledge to create all of the interactive media as well as write fantastically. The core beliefs, Beth says, is still the promise of journalism. It doesn’t go away, “despite the fascination around TMZ.” Beth reassures me that long form is absolutely still alive and going strong. There’s still a place for long form journalism, and there are many more avenues for delivery. Even the Kindle offers more and more long form pieces. Here technology and journalism have made a good team. How the new age of journalism sets out its business model is something that has not been determined. “No one’s figured out the Internet!” and the relationship between journalism and public relations is incredibly valuable still. We’re all in the game to adapt and change. Online publications do a good job of this, especially in non-profits such as University newspapers. Thankfully, Mayborn’s hired professors that can reinstate one great idea: it’s an exciting time to be a student of journalism.
By Elvira Agular
“A successful journalist today will have the curiosity of a traditional journalist; theywill be good communicators, but above all, flexible and multitalented.”
I knew Terri through a previous mentor of mine. We had met once or twice to discuss her magazine, Edible DFW. She had also participated in a “coming out” event a former classmate and I organized to celebrate the launching of a new eco-friendly, fashion blog. When we were assigned the indepth interview, I immediately e-mailed her. (She possesses this natural zest and passion for writing) I felt confident in her willingness to collaborate with me on a class project as she has always tried to help me establish connections and networks. I also knew she would have a lot to say in regards to the future of journalism, her niche magazine and the ever-changing methods of the industry. “Absolutely, it would be my pleasure,” she e-mailed me back the very same day. “You tell me, and we’ll make it work. Sounds like fun! Look forward to seeing you.” I scheduled to meet with Terri at her home in Dallas where she does most, if not all, of her magazine editing. A welcoming woman, she brewed me some hot tea and our interview took place in her kitchen, laden with copies of Edible issues, both past and present, and a hardbound issue of the new Edible DFW cookbook set to be released in October. I didn’t want to come with a long list of questions to ask her because I figured it would distract her and make our interview less natural, which I didn’t want. At the beginning of the conversation, I explained to her that I wanted to know her thoughts on a few key points: her background in writing, the process of editing a magazine and her opinion on the future of journalism. I asked permission to record our conversation and proceeded to listen to her elaborate on her views. We ended up sitting there for at least two hours. I only really talked when there was a natural pause or when the conversation naturally progressed to a point where it was appropriate for me to ask another question related to the topic at hand. Terri’s background is diverse, and she has done everything from publication advertising and sales to public relations to writing and editing. She has held previous positions with Theatre 3 and Dallas Observ-
er (before bought out by Village Voice Media): “I was a Journalism major from University of Texas in PR writing and not really, news writing…back in the olden days you got a bachelor of journalism degree even if you were in PR.” “I always went to every writing seminar known to man.” The magazine is a component of a nationwide company called Edible Communities. Terri’s sister, Nancy Taylor, and a friend in Albuquerque, New Mexico, started the DFW edition. They first recruited Terri as a writer for the publication, but due to difficulties with geographic location, the friend sold her portion of the magazine, giving Terri the title of editor: “Edible Communities was founded ten years ago by two women in Ojai, California… It was about seasonal local eating. They wanted to really write about their local farmers. That’s a very rich farming area and then they ended up deciding, “Oh, well there are other people in the United States that would like to do this. There’s a network of 70 magazines now that have developed over ten years and my sister and a friend of hers…the friend used to be an editor…Karen, the other person, had a little bit of background in the publishing business, but my sister had none, but they were passionate about growing food. Karen was living in Albuquerque at the time and ultimately that’s why she ended up selling because it was getting too hard to cover local stories…” When I asked her about the future of journalism, we talked about everything from the advancement of social media to the baby boomer’s viewpoint on change. The most prominent opinions that stuck out during the interview were these points: “I think the answer is that there is no definite answer” The baby boomer generation is looking to the younger generation for the ideas for successful journalism. Baby boomers, however, aren’t leaving their positions in the journalism industry so it gives the younger writers, reporters and editors a harder time developing their career (a bit of irony, no?) “And I really appreciate these people who live off whatever they are making writing… It is hard.” Terri believes the print versions of her magazine could “die” at some point . By Carli Baylor
“I think the answer is that there is no answer.”
CRYSTAL BALLS ONE ANSWER THERE ARE NO
AND THERE’S JUST
WE CAN ALL BE SURE OF
WE CAN’T BE SURE OF