Sunday, March 14, 2010

Digitalization and the future of newspapers?

Students, faculty and members of the community will gather on the campus of Western Michigan University as part of an all day conference to discuss the future of newspapers in the age of digitalization.

The conference theme "Can an Educated Society be Sustained Solely by Digitization?" will examine the future of newspapers and society and will be held on Saturday, March 27, in the WMU Fetzer Center, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

"This conference is probably the first of its kind in the nation," says Dr. Andrew Targowski, WMU professor of business and information systems and conference chairman. "We hope it will serve as a model for similar forums at other universities and colleges in other states."

Keynote addresses include:

• Digital Media & News: Reinventing the Newspaper Future
 - by Dr. Richard Gershon, WMU School of Communication

• Saving Paper Papers
- by Cheryl Kaechele, President of the National Newspaper Association

• Can Democracy Survive in the Google Age?
 - by Dr. Thomas Kostrzewa, WMU Political Science Department

• The Future of Reason in the Digital Civilization
 - by Dr. Andrew Targowski, WMU Center for Sustainable Business Practices

The luncheon talk will address Credibility, Incredibility, and the Demise of Objectivity, Civility, and Wisdom by Cal Samra, editor and publisher of an award-winning humor newsletter (both paper and digital) and former newspaper and Associated Press reporter.

“Newspapers are a national treasure.” Samra said. “A paper paper is the glue that holds a community together. Newspapers survived the Great Depression. They survived radio and television. They survived shoppers. But can they survive the Internet?”

The conference will address these questions:

• Can paper papers be saved?

• Should newspapers give themselves away free on the internet, or should they charge for internet access to their daily editions?

• Are we entering a new era of digital journalism?

• Is there a place for both paper and digital media?

The conference will explore ideas aimed at improving editorial and business practices at newspapers, and open a dialogue between journalists and technologists. The conference has called for papers, with cash prizes to be given to the best paper in each of three categories: Faculty, Student, and Professional Journalist.

Best papers chair Dr. Thomas Rienzo commented that the conference is a “unique venue to consider the implications of an increasingly digital world.” One of other papers to be offered is "Do Copyrights Help or Hurt in a Digital World?" by Joel E. Bair, an attorney who is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on copyrights and trademarks.

The conference is sponsored by WMU’s Haworth College of Business; Center for Sustainable Business Practices; WMU’s College of Arts and Sciences; Haenicke Institute for Global Education; and the National Newspaper Association.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit Admission is $20 (lunch included).