A webinar, a UA shoutout and going to jail

Yesterday was a very exciting day. My Contemporary Issues in Journalism class met one hour earlier than usual so we could watch the State of the News Media 2012 webinar. The online conference was based off research done by the Pew Research Center, with some collaboration with Poynter’s News University.

The hosts reported tons of interesting findings, and it would probably take days to explain it all, but here are a few interesting points that my classmates and I discussed:

  • In 2011, revenue from print ad sales decreased by $2.1 billion, or 9.2 percent.
  • Only 3 percent of adults reported getting news from Twitter, and 7 percent get news from Facebook.
  • Community news and niche news are on the rise.
  • Magazines have benefited from tablet sales and use.
  • TV news viewership of the three major networks increased 4.5 percent in 2011.

While watching this webinar, the hosts and my professor, Dr. Chris Roberts, encouraged us to follow along, tweet and interact with the event. Six of us – that’s half the class – did just that, and we used the suggested hashtag, #nuwebinar.

Then the following happened…

Katie: Economics section of this news media webinar is depressing. Where’s the money? #addollars #sadtweet #nuwebinar

Katie: Are they pulling questions from Twitter? I hope they read one from our class.. We should have created our own hashtag #nuwebinar

Me: @kwood88 Did you tweet them a question? It’s hard to keep up with the video and tweeting at the same time. My brain is on overload.

Katie: @christi_cowan No question in particular… I just want to hear Tom give #uagradschool a live tweeting shoutout #nuwebinar!

…which led to the creation of #uagradschool. Towards the end of the webinar, Tom actually mentioned Katie’s tweet about the status of the money in journalism, then he gave us a shoutout and said that he had been to our campus and that it was lovely. We were so excited! It had been very strange to watch my classmates tweet and read their comments on the video while we were all in the same room watching it happen, but livetweeting was a success!

Sarah tweeted this picture,

Dr. Roberts is one cool dude. He let us watch the State of the News Media 2012 webinar. It was interesting stuff!

and we got a response!

Poynter’s News U: @kissmymuffintop and the rest of the class: Say hello to Prof. Roberts for us. Thanks for the picture #nuwebinar

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, right after that, Dr. Roberts took us to the quad to visit the kingdom of Roll Tidelberg, an event sponsored by UA’s chapter of SPJ, where we signed away our First Amendment rights for a free lunch. There was no freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly or petition. It was a really cool experiment, and it made me pretty thankful that we have the First Amendment. In fact, we got in trouble for standing in a group and were sentenced to jail. Here’s a picture.

Erich, Katie, Kristy, Ana and me. I went to jail willingly. It was the cool place to be. It also happened to be the only shady spot in the kingdom of Roll Tidelberg.

You can read more about it in The Tuscaloosa News and The Crimson White.

It was such an eventful class! Thank you to Dr. Roberts for always keeping it interesting.

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