Worldwide Charter Meeting set for New Professional Society for Public Journalism

Begins with journalists‚ academics and citizen advocates from around the world participating…

Georgia (Nov 18, 2002) — Worldwide Charter Meeting set for New Professional Society for Public Journalism

Staff

Abstract

Begins with journalists‚ academics and citizen advocates from around the world participating in online forum in November and December‚ followed by live Charter Meeting in January.



Where:

Live Charter Meeting at Kennesaw State University‚ outside of Atlanta

For more information and Online Forum go to: KennesawSummit.kennesaw.edu



When:

Live Charter Meeting Jan. 24−25‚ 2003.

Online Forum November and December.



Why:

When the Pew Center for Civic Journalism‚ currently the only central resource for civic journalism‚ closes shop in the spring of 2003‚ civic journalism will need a navigation vehicle to take it into the future. "That vehicle should be a professional journalists' organization like the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors‚ IRE‚ or the Organization of News Ombudsmen‚" said Leonard Witt‚ the Robert D. Fowler Distinguished Chair in Communication at Kennesaw State University and former executive director of the Civic Journalism Initiative at Minnesota Public Radio.



Who:

Journalists‚ academics and citizen advocates from around the world are joining an online forum hosted by Kennesaw State to begin writing the society's new charter and to have a deliberative discussion about civic journalism. Many of these journalists‚ academics and citizen advocates will then attend the face−to−face meeting Jan. 24−25‚ 2003. The forum and live meetings will be a historic moment in the evolution of public or civic journalism.



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Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population of 15‚600 from 118 countries. The fifth largest out of 34 institutions in the University System of Georgia‚ KSU offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.







Additional material:



A Society of Civic Reporters and Editors



What's the next step for civic or public journalism? A cohort of journalists and academics believe it's a professional society of journalists who want to keep the movement's tenets alive.



A Charter Meeting for this new society is already set for January 24−25‚ 2003 at Kennesaw State University outside of Atlanta.



Drafts of the new organization's charter will be vetted in online forums during the months of November and December‚ 2002.



More than 50 journalists‚ academics and citizens from around the country and around the world have expressed keen interest in joining the conversation.



Gil Thelen‚ executive editor and senior vice president of The Tampa Tribune‚ said: "This society can be an important forum for continuing the vital conversation civic journalism has prompted for journalists. The society's work will extend this conversation for years to come."



Leonard Witt‚ Robert D. Fowler Distinguished Chair in Communication at Kennesaw State University and former executive director of the Civic Journalism Initiative at Minnesota Public Radio‚ said‚ "We know that the Pew Center for Civic Journalism is closing shop in the spring of 2003. When it does‚ civic journalism will need a navigation vehicle to take it into the future. That vehicle should be a professional journalists' organization like the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors‚ IRE‚ or the Organization of News Ombudsmen."



"We know a lot‚ after 10 years‚ about civic journalism: We know it triggers civic behaviors‚ from voting to volunteering. It builds knowledge. It builds credibility. Citizens 'get' it and like it. And journalists find it dramatically improves their journalism‚" said Jan Schaffer‚ executive director of the Pew Center for Civic Journalism‚ the nation's primary incubator for civic initiatives. "Civic journalists are eager for a professional society to share knowledge and innovation. The time is right."



Davis Buzz Merritt‚ one of the founders of the civic journalism movement‚ said‚ "The seeds of public journalism have been sown in many places over the last decade. It's appropriate now for journalists to imagine what its mature phase will be like‚ and this new organization is a good place to start."



In late July‚ at the annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Kansas City‚ academics will meet with the society's new officers and be invited to start student chapters.



Kathy Campbell‚ visiting journalism professor at the University of Oregon and co−vice chair of the AEJMC's Civic Journalism Interest Group‚ said‚ "The traditional 'great divide' between journalism and academia has never existed in civic journalism −− Buzz Merritt‚ Jay Rosen and Jan Schaffer have made sure of that. As we head into our second decade of experimentation and refinement with civic practices‚ it's crucial that we maintain and strengthen the bridge between us."



To join the conversation online or face−to−face in January at Kennesaw State University‚ contact:

Leonard Witt

Robert D. Fowler Distinguished Chair in Communication

Department of Communication

Kennesaw State University

1000 Chastain Road‚ Mail Stop #3102

Kennesaw‚ GA 30144−5591

770 423−6925; FAX 770 423−6740

Lwitt@kennesaw.edu




A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 35,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university's vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. A Carnegie-designated doctoral institution, it is one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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