The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, January 31, 2005

RIP Journalism

The Metro phenomenon - which is causing the Gray Lady so much grief at the moment (January 17) - is one clear sign of it: young people generally just don't buy regular newspapers.

You'd expect to find that sentiment in an average class of college students. But not a class of journalism students!

So Laura Berman at the Detroit News is bound to have a little fun over this [1]:
The scene: A college classroom at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

The subject: Writing the newspaper column.

The question: "Can any of you name a columnist you read -- in a newspaper or magazine or online -- on a regular basis?"

In response: Dead silence.

Slowly, one hand rises. A sports columnist is mentioned.

Dearborn? I've never set foot in the state, but my hunch is that Dearborn is not the premier campus of UMich (which is Ann Arbor, from memory). Perhaps it does not attract the crème de la crème. Perhaps it is even more addicted to affirmative action [2] than the more prestigious sites

Though it's hard to see how AA resulted in this:
"My generation is very visually oriented," explains Ryan Schreiber, a U-M Dearborn junior from Dearborn who -- like most in the class -- is majoring in journalism but doesn't read much of it."My generation grew up watching MTV. We are used to short spurts of words, lots of images...We're used to immediate gratification."

Could he possibly have been hitting on Berman?

The distaff side is no more sympathetic to the written word:
After asking how many read a newspaper regularly -- four or five out of 35 said they did -- [an instructor in a J-class] required them to bring a newspaper to class twice a week. "The students don't like it," says Laura Hipshire, one of the journalism students.

Hipshire? Deleted scene from an Austin Powers movie...

Berman is a columnist, but I'm assuming she's not making all this up. Has she been spoofed by a bunch of smartass student looking to take down the big paper in town?

If I were Berman's editor, I'd be doing some checking. (Actually, I'd probably have done some checking before I ran the piece.)

  1. How was it reported? Was the writer, Laura Berman, present? I'm loving it just a bit too much - was Ben Trovato on the story?

  2. The miserable pickings offered by the Supreme Court in the University of Michigan cases came in the undergraduate case of Gratz v Bollinger.

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