Bill Dauber Tells Journalism Students “Bring It to the Table”

Bill Dauber, Professor of Journalism at Los Angeles Valley College, and advisor of the school’s Valley Star, tackles the question: “What is the future of journalism?” as guest speaker of LAVC’s Journalism 108 class last Tuesday night.

“Journalism is changing the way we get our news,” confirms Dauber. “New media is moving in new areas, becoming more democratized.  Digital

media has been eating away at advertising profits and cutting into the number of print jobs.  Those jobs are disappearing.”

Ten years ago, the Los Angeles Times had a news staff of 1,300.  Today, that number is closer to 720, making it one of the hardest hit newspapers of our time.1    In 2010, the LA Times daily circulation of 600,449 was down from the previous year’s figure of 657,467.2      Revenue and circulation continue to make a downward descent, as papers struggle to give birth to new sales strategies, such as inserting links into their on-line editions to increase readership.  Dauber shares an interesting fact.  Although, advertising revenue and circulation for newspapers across the country have been negatively impacted with the evolution of digital media, such is not the case for college newspapers.  The opposite is true. “Because,” says Dauber “advertisers are trying to specifically reach the students.”  Dauber further shares that one of the things he does like about digital media is that it offers much more access to newspapers.   He is an avid and consistent reader of The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Atlantic.

Having been a reporter for the LA Times, and The Orange County Register, Dauber’s advice to journalism students is “Be familiar with social media. You need to know it, and read about it.   Write a blog. Find out what you are interested in.  Develop an expertise, and ask what can you offer that is different.”   Dauber elaborates, citing Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Daily Dish, as an example.  Sullivan, a political commentator for The Atlantic, provides people with an analysis, posting what he thinks about each news item.  Sullivan found a way he could contribute.

“You need to bring something to the table with whatever you are doing,” Dauber tells the class.  His final piece of advice was take advantage of the many journalism and mass media courses at LAVC and other colleges.

Yes, the future of journalism is changing.  But, wherever digital media takes us going forward, Dauber’s message is clear.  “Bring it to the table.”

Professor Dauber has been teaching at Los Angeles Valley College for nine years.  He graduated from the University of California at Irvine with a degree in history.  He’s been a reporter for the LA Times, the Orange County Register and is author of “The Real Las Vegas: Life Beyond the Strip.”

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