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Source: Angela Powers, 785-532-3963, apowers@k-state.edu
Web site: http://www.k-state.edu/media/mediaguide/bios/powersbio.html
News release prepared by: Nellie Ryan, 785-532-6415, media@k-state.edu

Friday, March 12, 2010

K-STATE JOURNALISM EXPERT SAYS INTERNET CHANGING NEWS, NEWSPAPERS

MANHATTAN -- News is changing in several ways and innovation is taking place at record-breaking speed, according to Angela Powers, director of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kansas State University.

Powers researches influences on news content, media leadership and ethics, and media convergence.

"Some newspapers in the U.S. are laying off people, closing their doors," she said. "Yet, other newspapers have an enthusiasm for new methods and techniques for gathering news and information that is completely changing the way they're doing business."

Part of that transformation has to do with the Internet, which has created massive interconnectedness, Powers said.

"Journalists are now routinely producing original content for the Internet and determining which medium is most appropriate, rather than simply covering a story for print or electronic media," she said.

Online journalism, which incorporates interactivity, hypertexuality and multimediality, is now considered the fourth kind of journalism following radio, television/cable and print, Powers said.

Interactivity ranges from e-mail exchanges, bulletin boards, comment sections and Web chats; hypertexuality refers to links to original content, related stories and archives; and multimediality is the user's ability to decide among different media types.

Powers said there are some great examples of converged media operations in Kansas, including the Lawrence Journal World and the Manhattan Mercury.

"Both newspapers blend the modern blog with accepted journalism," she said. "Readers are able to create their own Weblogs or blogs online. On any given day there are at least three to five active local reader blogs."

Powers said that popular blog topics of fall 2009 included climate change, music, economics, life inspirations and photography. She also said that the most popular blogs appeared to be those that asked readers simple questions, such as "What are your favorite songs associated with musicals?" Readers then responded by providing their favorite songs along with links to performances on YouTube.

The Mercury and the Journal World also allow readers to comment on stories published on their Web sites. Powers said that blogs and polls generate a great deal of comments, and that local and state news engage readers. She said these are encouraging signs for newspapers wanting to attract readers to their Web sites.

For students to become successful journalists in an online world, Powers said they should develop the following skills: ability to operate independently; to focus on innovation; develop autonomy; listen to ideas; not be afraid to fail; go fast and take chances; and gain technology and HTML experience.

Students in K-State's A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications are learning reporting skills and media convergence not only in the classroom, but also through jobs and internships, Powers said. She also credited the school's faculty in constantly providing students with the real-world experience they will need to succeed.

Powers has advice for soon-to-graduate journalism students.

"Your resume needs to have a Google presence," she said. "If employers can't find an applicant on Google, then they are not considered in the job pool. Employers need to be able to find applicants' work online. Students should have a Facebook account and some sign that they exist on the Internet."

In addition to an online presence, Powers recommends students' resumes include a DVD and a Web site. To enhance both, she said they should use Skype or Flip cameras and not be afraid to post raw videos of news events.

"Exuberate a 'give the audience what they want' mentality," she said.

Powers is a Senior Fulbright specialist and Fulbright scholar. Before joining K-State in 2004, she was a television reporter for NBC and CBS affiliates. Powers earned a doctorate in mass media from Michigan State University.

Powers just returned from the Middle East, where she was invited by the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait to speak about the future of journalism as part of the embassy's Cultural/Journalism Exchange Program.