Friday, September 12, 2008

ONA Panel: Putting Universities to Work For Collaboration Between Industry and the Academia

Here are my notes from this session, hopefully they will make sense.


Jay Rosen, Faculty, New York University
Paul Volpe, Deputy Politics Editor,
Retha Hill, Director of the New Media Innovation Lab and Professor of the Practice, Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism
Ryan Thornburg, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina

Jay Rosen wants to contribute editorial resources to the professional newsrooms through studio 20 at New York University. They are looking for industry partners to work at the studio in order to benefit from student work.

I do not want a multimedia or new media program. They knew they had to do something different than Columbia. They needed a new metaphor. They are looking for students who typically would not major in journalism.

Paul Volpe

It seems as if the current environment is a one way street. The students don't have much invested. The industry is "teaching" them. The idea is what can we together build in order for it to be a learning experience for both sides.

Want to do a start-up or possibly a database collaboration with the industry.

All panelists agree that an interdisciplinary approach is key.

Audience comment: Build a website, starts with a how might we statement from the industry, then the colleges and universities say we accept that challenge and then it becomes a social networking project. Reward could be the opportunity to present the findings to the news corporation.

Ryan Thornburg, it's almost like we need a for what I don't know and what I need to know. A match between real world problems the media industry faces and the students to solve them. It was seemingly an off the cuff comment but it may be a viable idea. If someone creates and intellectual marketplace, who knows what the outcome could be.

Retha Hill, students at compensated for their work at the Innovation Lab. Clearly, an intelligent way to motivate students. Journalism students get three hours credit. Likewise graduate students receive credit also. The best students apply, the ones who've gone through digital media training. They make $9.75-$10.75 an hour. Hill also mentioned how the innovation lab works with industry partners to hep them solve real time problems. That is the sole purpose of the lab. They have several partners including the Arizona Republic. The new clients do a presentation to the students. So the students are seeing marketing data from Gannett. So they are learning about the business.

Students address critical issues of monetizing, target audience, etc as part of solving the problems. Hill is extremely knowledgeable and her presentation clearly demonstrates who 20 plus years of experience in the business. She's worked at the and most recently at

Paul Volpe Students who are coming out of journalism schools need entrepreneurial knowledge. How are we supposed to change, what do we need to do differently. Paul wants students to understand the business. So glad I created and teach our Business of News Class at Belmont.

Audience question: Is there a conflict of interest when news agencies and the academy create partnerships? I don't think so. We give them interns and they still cover problems on campuses.

Jay Rosen-Until you have people in the business who actually think that the academy has something to offer, the industry won't be interested.

Jay Rosen-The Innocence Project at Northwestern is one of the most successful projects where students did the research and under faculty leadership, they helped free innocent people.

How do you create great knowledge that is replicable?
Retha Hill response: Doesn't like blogs, OUCH as I am blogging her comments that will hopefully lead to speaking engagements. Admitted that's not her strong suit but did not that recruiters are after the students from the innovation lab.

Well, you get the point. Strategic thinking and planning are key in order to connect the university and the industry. Innovative thinking is mandatory for everyone's survival.

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