Community Journalism Day will focus on Vt. media issues

After a two-year hiatus, Community Journalism Day will once again be held at Johnson State College as an event sponsored by the Communications and Community Media program and the Community Media Project at JSC in cooperation with the Vermont Press Association.

“This year’s Community Journalism Day will be taking a look at the issues, challenges, and progress facing the Vermont news media as a whole,” said Associate Professor of Writing and Literature Tyrone Shaw.

This event will be featuring four panels and a keynote speaker, decided upon by Shaw.

The keynote speaker for this year is Mike Donoghue, executive director of the Vermont Press Association. Donoghue has been a reporter for the Burlington Free Press for over four decades and was recently awarded the 2013 Sevellon Brown AP New England Journalist of the Year award, designating him the top journalist of the year for newspapers, TV, radio, and online publications in the six-state region.

“I think that this is an opportunity for students to have a chance to learn from professionals,” said Donoghue. “But also for professionals to hear what’s on the minds of young readers. They are the future media consumers and we need to be listening to our audience as to what they want to see, hear, and read.”

The panels will consist of representatives from a variety of media including print, web, radio, and television. The first panel is “Disruption and Adaptation”  (10:00-10:50), which will take a look at how Vermont’s media are adapting to changing technologies and audience demands. Second is “Where the Sun Don’t Shine,” (11:00-11:50), a discussion about the hurdles journalists face on behalf of their audience as they fight for access of public records.

The third panel, “What you need to know” (1:15-2:30) will discuss the qualities editors are looking for when hiring new journalists.

The day will conclude with “Still Indispensable,” (2:45-3:30) during which editors and publishers will consider the continued importance of community media in fostering and maintaining civic health.

According to Shaw, each panel discussion will include time for questions and answers with the panel members.

Among the  panelists are Bridget Shanahan, WPTZ-TV, Michael Townsend, Burlington Free Press, Ross Connelly, Hardwick Gazette, Ken Picard, Seven Days, Bethany Dunbar, Barton Chronicle, Mike Donoghue, Burlington Free Press, Matt Kannar, Stowe Reporter; Steven Pappas, Times Argus; J.B. McKinley, News and Citizen;  Angelo Lynn, Addison Independent, Steve Bottari, WCAX, and Anne Galloway, Vt.

Other newspaper, TV and radio representatives are pending final confirmation.

“In a sense this is really a celebration of Vermont’s news media, which I think is extraordinary in its connection and responsiveness to the people of Vermont,” said Shaw. “The people who attend this will get a better understanding of the problems media face in adjusting to digital technologies and how we are coping with them.  They will also get to meet many of the major players in Vermont’s media.”

This event is directed to all who are interested in Vermont media, including high school and college students, broadcasters and editors.

Community Journalism Day will be held in the Stearns Performance Space and registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 1, with a keynote speaker at 9 a.m. and panel discussions from 10 a.m. through 3:30 p.m.