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News Media Initiative


2010-2011 Academic Year

Journalism:  Does It Have a Future? [ VIEW VIDEO]
Joshua Benton, Director of the Nieman Lab of Journalism at Harvard University
December 8, 2010

Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab (a collaborative effort to help traditional news organizations survive and journalists adjust to their online roles) at Harvard University, began blogging when President Bill Clinton was in office. The award-winning journalist, who spent 10 years working in the newspaper industry, has been part of the evolution of journalism.

Benton was the featured speaker of the Paul and Louise Miller Lecture Series. The topic of Benton’s talk was “Journalism: Does it Have a Future?” Benton’s presentation was part of the Social Media and Communication Symposium at RIT.

Benton said that as someone who grew up in a poor town in South Louisiana, his sources for news were a small, daily newspaper and Dan Rather. Benton believes journalism is better than it was in the past and the ability for everyone to publish on the Internet is an amazing innovation. Benton says that traditional news organizations have been wary of aggregation, but journalists have been active aggregators for years as they are the ones who are “aggregating” the brains of their sources for stories.

Before coming to Harvard, Benton was an award-winning education reporter at The Dallas Morning News.  His reports about cheating on standardized tests in the Texas public schools led to the permanent shutdown of a school district. Benton won the Philip Meyer Journalism Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors.