Sree Sreenivasan on the “Tradigital Journalist”: Fresh Ground #2

Sree SreenivasanWelcome back to the Fresh Ground Podcast. Each week, we feature 10 minutes of insights from people driving change in today’s competitive business and media landscape. We talk about the evolving worlds of media, public relations, marketing and business, with a special focus on creating more social organizations.

In today’s episode #2, Chuck Tanowitz, principal at Fresh Ground Communications, talks with Sree Sreenivasan, professor of journalism and dean of student affairs at the Columbia Journalism School. Sree is among AdAge’s 25 media people to follow on Twitter and one of 22 professors named to the “Top 100 Twitterers in Academia” by

Sree and Chuck talk about the weakening divide between journalism and the corporate world, and specifically about the influence that corporate owners may have on the journalism process and the skills that newly minted journalism school grads need to leave with.

Some of the more interesting excerpts from Sree:

“Even today, any time there’s a light bulb story or anything else connected to GE, [NBC afilliates] make the disclaimer.”

“I presume any time a company owns you, the forces that are at work are much more subtle, and maybe even unspoken and unsaid… When I worked at WABC, we were owned by the Walt Disney Company, and we used get letters saying ‘dear fellow cast members’ from Michael Eisner.”

“I teach reporting, and reporting is something that you can use in a variety of fields. While most of our graduates still go into journalism today, there has been for decades people who’ve gone on to other fields…”

“We can either spend our time being orthodox about what should work and what doesn’t…, or we say ‘look, as long as someone like Saul Hansell is comfortable with the decisions he makes and the stories he tells and the contacts he makes, his ethics are far higher than most people’s, so I don’t worry about it.’”

“Every student must leave here with a new media mindset and a new media skill set.”

“[We use] a term called a ‘tradigital journalist‘ … that Sig Gissler, the administrator of the Pulitzer prizes, [coined that means] ‘a traditional journalist with a digital overlay.’ So we absolutely teach the eternal, if you think about it: truth, ethics, getting the story right, doing it in a timely manner, and then you put this digital overlay over the that traditional stuff.”

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