Speaker addresses unclear future of journalism

She doesn’t have all the answers about the future of the journalism industry, but Susan Green isn’t afraid to try and tackle them.

That was the message of Green, broadcast director of the Cronkite News Service and assistant news director in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, gave during her talk with Butler students, faculty and staff Thursday evening.

In addition to her career as a professor, Green has worked for broadcast stations in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York City. She is also a Peabody Award Winner.

Green’s speech titled, “I don’t have all the answers about the future of journalism, but I sure am going to have a great time trying to figure out,” was the first in the new College of Communication speakers series.

She opened by asking the audience who was tired of hearing about the “doom and gloom” of the journalism industry. She said she was raising her hand the highest.

“I think she did a great job bringing an optimistic view to what some feel is a bleak subject,” Reegan Homburg, junior science, technology and society major, said. “It was quite refreshing.”

Green said the reason many people are afraid about the future of journalism is because they’re too scared about changing, relating the idea to her experience as the only girl on an all-boys baseball team as a child.

“They had to learn to accept me,” Green said, talking about her fellow teammates and coaches. “They had to accept change.

“It’s all about figuring out where your place is and how it’ll work for you.”

She told students not to fear those who say the journalism industry is dead, noting the industry is in a period of change just as the print industry was when television was first introduced.

Her talk mixed humor with a serious discussion on the future of journalism which she presented alongside a variety of media.

She introduced students to several multimedia journalism sites, including the New York Times’ “One in 8 Million,” a website dedicated to creating multimedia news packages about individual New Yorkers.

“We’re all learning and changing with the available technology,” Green said. “You cannot survive without multiple skills anymore.”

Green suggested students need to learn as many media as possible while in school because of the changing industry.

“There are a lot of bells and whistles now,” she said. “It’s such an exciting time and I’m jealous, because you guys have the ability to create your own career.”

Nancy Whitmore, director of the Eugene S. Pulliam School of Journalism, said she agreed with Green on how exciting the journalism industry is for students in school now.

“It’s such a time of excitement,” Whitmore said. “We were much more stymied by what we could do—you chose print or broadcast or photography. Now you can do all of those things.

“You can really do some compelling work when the medium is not restricted.”

Green told the audience journalism will always exist, it’s just going to be “wrapped up” in a different way than many may be used to seeing.

“I think the most exciting thing is that journalism is changing in a way that we can create our own careers,” Lexie Beach, junior public relations major and electronic journalism minor, said. “I like to hear different perspectives on the future of journalism and I was glad to hear her positive spin.”

Even if Green didn’t have all the answers, she sure was able to have fun talking about the possibilities of creating a new future with some of Butler’s future journalists in the room.

“It’s a lot of work and it’s not going to be easy,” Green said. “So are you in?
“I’m in—I hope all of you decide to be in too.”