The Department of Communication and Journalism at Suffolk University hosted nearly two dozen esteemed journalists from across the country as part of its "Journalism in the Changing Media World" conference, held in the C.Walsh Theatre on March 26-27. Attendees at the five panel sessions included students, faculty, administrators, and other members of the Suffolk community.
“Good, quality journalism is of significant importance to our democracy," said conference host Dr. Bob Rosenthal, chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism at Suffolk. "Journalism is in transition, with issues driven by new technologies, business considerations, and hostile government policies designed to inhibit the free flow of information to the voting public. The rationale for our conference was driven by the need for public discourse on these issues.”
Following his opening remarks, a panel of newspaper editors, including Marty Baron of The Boston Globe, Gregory Moore of The Denver Post, Ellen Soeteber formerly of The St. Louis Dispatch, and Bob Giles of The Nieman Foundation for Journalism, discussed the future of newspaper journalism, moderated by Eileen McNamara, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The Boston Globe.
Dr. Nina Huntemann, assistant professor of Communication and Journalism moderated a discussion on internet journalism with Christopher Lydon, publisher of "Radio Open Source" (formerly with National Public Radio and The New York Times), David Warsh, publisher of "Economic Principles" (formerly with The Boston Globe), and Margo Howard, columnist for "Yahoo" (formerly with Slate.com).
Capping off the first day of the conference, journalists explored investigative journalism with Bruce Butterfield, former reporter for The Boston Globe and assistant professor of Communication and Journalism at Suffolk. Panelists included Walter Robinson, former head of the "Spotlight Team" at The Boston Globe, Jim Taricani of WJAR-TV, and Daniel Golden of The Wall Street Journal.
The first session of day two focused on broadcast journalism, with NECN News Director Charles Kravitz moderating a discussion among WCVB-TV News Anchor Natalie Jacobson, Emily Rooney, host and executive editor of WGBH-TV's "Greater Boston" program, and R.D. Sahl, news anchor at NECN.
The conference concluded with a lively discussion on opinion journalism by columnists Joan Vennochi of The Boston Globe, Peter Gelzinis of The Boston Herald, Derrick Jackson of The Boston Globe, and Froma Harrop of The Providence Journal. James Carroll, columnist, author and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Suffolk University, moderated the panel.
“The panelists were eloquent in their articulation of the issues," said Rosenthal. "Several argued for a new business model for journalism. Others pointed to the hostile government and judicial climates that are inhibiting investigation and reporting. Some lamented the demise of hard news in broadcast journalism. Yet all of the journalists eloquently articulated the fundamental importance of quality journalism to our democratic way of life.”