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Media experts discuss industry trends

3/27/2013

By JUDY SHERARD

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

The Fort Hays State University media symposium Tuesday night offered a look at the media from those who have made it a career.

FHSU President Edward H. Hammond appointed a task force in February

to make recommendations on the dissemination of news and information

after the Student Government Association cut funding for the student

newspaper, the University Leader, for the current school year.

SGA restored the Leader's funding for the 2013-14 school year, and

the student newspaper tentatively plans to resume printing in the fall.

The symposium was moderated by Kent Steward, FHSU director of

University Relations. Panelists were Scott Reinardy, associate professor

and chairman of the News and Information Track in the William Allen

White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas; Ralph Gage,

director of special projects for the Lawrence Journal-World; Patrick

Lowry, editor and publisher of The Hays Daily News and past president of

the Kansas Press Association; Laura York Guy, media instructor and

media adviser at Garden City Community College, member of the National

Scholastic Press Association board of directors and first vice president

of Kansas Collegiate Media; and Gary Shorman, president and CEO of

Eagle Communications.

Prepared topics covered the future of newspapers, the need for

multimedia, the relationship between FHSU media and community media and

the University's target audience.

Much of people's information comes from newspapers, Guy said.

"I don't see newspapers going away," she said.

While some newspapers might have faltered in some areas, "journalism is strong in this state," Lowry said.

Members of the baby boomer generation favor print products but can become comfortable with a multimedia product, Gage said.

He advised providing "information to people on the device they are most comfortable with when they want it."

Chapman Rackaway, a task force member and FHSU political science

professor, asked the panel to identify what the Leader's content should

be.

The method for delivering the information might change, but "it's the

content that I'd really like us to get a focus on," he said.

"I don't think you can ever forfeit your basic journalistic tenets --

accuracy, reporting facts, talking with people and telling good

stories," Reinardy said.

"Basic tenets make you a reliable news source. It comes down to

producing good, reliable, fact-based, accurate content. I don't think

that changes regardless of platform."

Reinardy said training remains essential, and the market remains

strong for students exiting the KU program with such training, noting

the school has a placement rate exceeding 80 percent.

"This was a great think piece I think, but now we want to get those

specific hits," Rackaway said. "The task force has a lot to mull over."

Members of the task force are Rackaway; Paul Faber, College of Arts

and Sciences dean; Scott Robson, Department of Communication Studies

chairman; Stephen Schleicher, Department of Informatics chairman; Ron

Rohlf, informatics instructor; Shana Meyer, assistant vice president of

student affairs; Jennifer Robinson, graphics and animation specialist in

the Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning Technology; and

students Gentry Heimerman and Matthew Whitmore.

Recommendations are due to the administration April 19.

A town hall-style meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the

Black and Gold room of the Memorial Union to further discuss the future

of FHSU media studies.