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Educators told journalism moving from 'mass' to 'class' markets

Christy Mumford Jerding
World Center


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NEW ORLEANS — Journalism will move from "mass media" to "class media" in the 21st century, a longtime journalism educator and news executive said today at the AEJMC convention.

Félix Gu...
Félix Gutiérrez
Félix Gutiérrez, senior vice president of The Freedom Forum and executive director of the Pacific Coast Center, told members of the AEJMC Minorities and Communication Division and the Scholastic Division that their students will enter a profession that won't be defined by the traditional model of mass communication: attracting the largest audiences to the fewest print and broadcast outlets.

Instead, he said, "We will need to learn to navigate and use a 'class media' that targets audience segments and allows access through multimedia.

"Diversity is the defining characteristic of both society and the media for the 21st century: more diversity in society's groupings and more diversity in media choices," Gutiérrez said. "It's not clear that any single road ... can tell you the best way to travel."

Gutiérrez said many "givens" of journalism were falling by the wayside, including:

  • Becoming a journalist by being hired by an organization that prints or broadcasts information. With the Web and other media, anyone has access to dissemination technology.
  • Journalism standards set by a "white, male model." The standard is no longer "who can best lose ... their identity, but who can maintain [it] while [still] still learning the ways of those in power."
  • Mass media being the key to media dominance and wealth. "The last vestiges of the mass audience — general circulation daily newspapers and primetime network television — continue to lose audiences, (even) as people spend more and more time with the media."
  • Clear lines of division between news and entertainment, advertising and editorial, sales and marketing. "Entertainment programs now have news formats ... editorial content is increasingly linked to advertising goals, and online marketing is directly linked to sales."
  • Respect for journalists. "Now, journalists are not only lower esteemed, but also have been demystified."
  • Clear steps from scholastic to professional journalism. "Now there's no clear scholastic first step for everyone [and there are] many choices and few signs of which way will take you where."
AEJMC 1999 coverage
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  • Recognize international dimensions of U.S. journalism history, educators told 8.9.99
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  • Pending 'Kincaid' ruling seen as 'incredible threat' to college press 8.6.99
  • Studies examine drops in newspaper credibility 8.5.99
  • Sanford to educators: You must restore faith in journalism 8.5.99
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  • Journalism teaching secrets: service, listening to students 8.4.99