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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 am late in noting here that I had a guest post at Nieman Lab about why and how student media should move swiftly to become digital-first.

I elaborated on the points I made earlier this year about student media after doing some consulting for Texas Christian University and the University of Oregon and after teaching some digital-first workshops for TCU and the University of Texas at Arlington.

I also should note that University of Tampa journalism professor Dan Reimold wrote a detailed response to my Nieman Lab post.

It’s a thoughtful response that Jim Romenesko framed as a debate between Dan and me. After I commented on Dan’s blog, he responded that he “truly loved” my Nieman piece and that we are “pretty much in lock-step.” (more…)

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Texas Christian University’s student media are shifting to a digital-first approach this fall, producing content first and primarily for digital platforms.

I visited TCU’s Schieffer School of Journalism in April, studying their student media operations and recommending sweeping changes. I’m back this week to lead a day of workshops for the students in the unified content team that will feed digital, broadcast and print media.

Links I will be recommending to the students for additional reading: (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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Note displayed at APILike a drawing on the Etch-a-Sketch that is so popular in politics now, my journalism past has pretty much been shaken clean. Almost everywhere I worked has been shut down or sold:

  • Columbus (Ohio) Citizen-Journal. Newspaper carrier, 1968-70. Citizen-Journal died in 1985.
  • Shenandoah (Iowa) Evening Sentinel. Sports reporter, 1971-72; intern 1975; reporter, editorial page editor, managing editor, 1976-77. The Tinley family sold the Sentinel to Park Newspapers in the 1980s and the Sentinel died in 1993. (more…)

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This week my boss, Gazette Co. CEO Chuck Peters, “tagged” me in a Facebook application called “25 Random Things.”

As closely as I work with Chuck, I learned some interesting things about him through the 25 facts he posted. I saw that I was supposed to post my own 25 random things, then tag Chuck and 24 other people. I didn’t mind sharing some facts about myself, but the tagging process felt a bit like a chain letter. Plus I was busy when Chuck tagged me, so I knew it would be a few days before I would be able to compile my 25 random facts.

Then yesterday I saw that John Robinson, editor of the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., noted in his Twitter feed that 25 Random Facts was “officially dead” now that a newspaper (the Charlotte Observer) had written about it. The story explained both the upside I had noted, learning interesting facts about people you sort of knew, as well as the downside, that chain letter thing. (more…)

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