Posts Tagged ‘John Lumpkin’

John Lumpkin

John Lumpkin

My friend John Lumpkin is retiring as director of the Schieffer School of Journalism at my alma mater, Texas Christian University.

I learned a lot about journalism while I was a student at TCU from 1972 to 1976. I learned from my professors — Lewis C. Fay and Elden Rawlings, who were journalism department chairs while I was there; J.D. Fuller, Doug Newsom and Jack Raskopf and adjunct professor Jim Batts. I learned from my fellow students, working all four years for the student newspaper, the Daily Skiff. I learned from visiting speakers, including Bill Moyers and TCU alumnus Bob Schieffer.

When I graduated, my first job took me back to the Midwest and I wandered away from TCU. My whole career, I’ve been based in the Midwest and in the Washington area. I developed ties with various Midwestern schools, speaking at local colleges and universities wherever I worked and teaching as adjunct faculty at three schools in Iowa and two in Washington. TCU seemed pretty distant for most of my career, beyond the mass mailings to alumni.

When the school was named for Schieffer several years ago, someone from the school asked for a comment about my TCU experience and the quote was one of several from students and alumni used widely in promotion of the event (I said something about becoming addicted to journalism as a TCU student and not planning to enter rehab). But that was about the extent of my ties to TCU for the first 30 years after I left.

John brought me back, though. (more…)

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I have recommended digital-first approaches recently to faculty and student media leaders at my alma mater, Texas Christian University, and the University of Oregon.

I am delighted that Emerald Media in Oregon has announced that it will be digital-first next year, stopping Monday-Friday daily newspaper publication in favor of a timely digital news approach and two weekly print magazines. The University of Georgia’s Red and Black shifted to digital first with its move to weekly print production last fall (I played no role there).

TCU will continue publishing the Daily Skiff (I am a former Skiff editor, spring semesters of 1975 and ’76) four days a week, but will produce all content first and primarily for digital platforms. “We are moving from some of the news being produced and distributed first on a digital platform to all of the news being produced digitally with the intent of distributing it first in real-time via a digital platform,” Schieffer School of Journalism Director John Lumpkin told me in an email.

Even where the changes involve cutting the frequency of print production, we should not regard these moves as cutbacks but as moving forward. “This step is critical to expanding news coverage for our audience, in addition to preparing students for the changes in our profession,” John said.

The Schieffer School set the stage for this move by launching a news website, tcu360, that operated largely independently of the Skiff and TCU News Now, the student TV operation. “We made the philosophical decision to go ‘digital first’ in the spring of 2011 by creating tcu360,” John said.

This is the direction student media need to go. Journalism students must prepare to work and compete in the digital news marketplace and journalism schools and student media must do a better job of preparing them. (more…)

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I share a lot of new-school views of journalism and journalism ethics in this blog. Today I want to share some old-school advice by a friend whose teaching of ethics transcended generations.

In the fall of 2009, I returned to my alma mater, Texas Christian University, to lead a seminar on the challenges of digital journalism. I was pleased to see a familiar face, Phil Record, who, as I recall, had been city editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram when I was a TCU student. I hadn’t known him well then, but we chatted often enough at meetings of the Society of Professional Journalists (then known as Sigma Delta Chi) that I remembered who he was, and I was surprised and pleased to see that he remembered me some 33 years after I had graduated.

In a bit of generational stereotyping that embarrasses me, I presumed he was there as a courtesy, an emeritus faculty member showing up at a journalism school event to socialize and support. After all, I figured, what did an 80-year-old retired journalist want to know about the ethics of Twitter and blogging? I was shamed and pleased to see that Phil still taught ethics at the Schieffer School of Journalism and that he was one of the most engaged participants in my seminar. He didn’t know a lot about Twitter, but he was eager to learn and to dig into the ethical issues thoroughly enough to teach them. (more…)

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