Not The Last Of A Dying Breed p.13


A Dying breed? Not us, says a prize-winning editor. Journalism graduates looking beyond newspapers for career jobs because of negative perceptions about the industry should take another, longer look, advised Orange County Register editor and vice president Tonnie L. Katz, in a Los Angeles address. A popular belief is that "young journalism planning careers are looking outside of traditional newspapers to seek their future in the world new media," she noted.

The thinking of many graduates, she continued, goes like this: "Stay die hell away from newspapers. You'll be left behind. Newspaper newsrooms are depressing."

Not true, insisted Katz, asserting, "This is perhaps the most exciting time in American newspaper history, through I grant you it's difficult. Contrary to what you may have heard, people like me are not the last of a dying breed."

Katz spoke in Los Angeles at the 36th annual Distinguished Achievement in Journalism Awards at the University of Southern California. She was one the recipients of the award, along with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd and Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent for CNN.

Primarily addressing the USC journalism students among the audience, Katz termed newspaper staff members as "pioneers in an incredible journey that is already transforming many American newspapers into information centers that publish on every conceivable medium - from books and magazines to CD-ROM, from online to audiotex to television."

As a result, she said, newspapers are attracting new readers as they take their traditional value to "new playing fields." According to Katz, the critical question for young people is not whether to opt for newspapers, television or cyber-journalism, since all are simply different means of transporting information from gatherers to customers.

"What's really at stake," she went on, "is the integrity and the quality of the content we deliver. We must learn how to make it relevant to a changing society, connect it with the information needs and wants of the public and to convince the public we haven't lost either our values or our value. …


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