RIT students present at America East newspaper conference about how they get their news

Conference held March 14-16 in Harrisburg, Pa.

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The struggling economy and the digital technological evolution has delivered the newspaper industry a one-two punch, forcing some newspapers to fold and those survivors to find ways to redefine themselves.

What is the future of newspapers? Twyla Cummings, interim associate dean of the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, and four RIT students will weigh in on the subject today when they present their views during a forum at the America East newspaper conference in Harrisburg, Pa. The annual regional conference/trade show attracts newspapers, multimedia companies and suppliers in pre-press, commercial ink, digital technology, IT and online advertising.

Cummings, the Paul and Louise Miller Distinguished Professor in RIT’s School of Print Media; Dealva Dowd-Hinkle, a second-year graduate student in the print media and publishing program; Michael Conti, a fourth-year photojournalism major; Jesse Hanus, a fourth-year journalism student; and Ariel Zamparini, a fourth-year game design and development major, are the featured speakers in America East’s afternoon roundtable forum Real Life Consumers of the Future.

Dowd-Hinkle says: “The biggest thing the news industry has to embrace is technology, technology, technology. I still keep up regularly with the news, but how I access it is completely different than in the past. I don’t rely on one source for my information; I collect it from a multitude of sources—from The Daily Show and Conan O’Brien to Google News and Twitter. Newspapers are going to have a harder and harder time getting readers to buy their papers and even access their websites if they don’t do it right. I love supporting my local newspapers, but when their websites are difficult to navigate, or doesn’t display on my phone, I end up turning to other sources for the news.”

Conti, who will graduate from RIT in May, is interning as a photographer and writer at The Fayetteville Observer in Fayetteville, N.C. He reports about community events in the Cape Fear River Valley. After graduation Conti says he hopes to find a job working at a newspaper where he can connect with readers on stories they identify with.

Hanus completed a co-op at Rochester’s City Newspaper, contributing to the paper’s writing and photography. She is editor and writer for The Docking Station, RIT’s online magazine for the Department of Communication. Her research paper about the rise of infotainment won her a Kearse Writing Award in 2010.

Zamparini, in addition to creating several games and graphical simulations, also maintains several websites. He keeps current on local news via broadcast and cable television stations, Digg.com for miscellaneous news and he follows technical news in his field through such sites as Gizmodo.com and Arstechnica.com.