Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm A Journalist, Get Me Out of Here!

This evening (Wednesday) I'll be moderating a panel discussion on the future of journalism.

("Future" and "journalism," now there are two words that are seemingly used in proximity to one another with less and less frequency these days.)

Taking part in the discussion will be Susan Paterno, director of the journalism program at Chapman University; Jerry Roberts, former San Francisco Chronicle managing editor and former Santa Barbara News-Press editor and publisher; Nick Welsh, editor and reporter for the Santa Barbara Independent; James Rainey, media columnist for the Los Angeles Times; and Dick Flacks, UC Santa Barbara professor emeritus of sociology, radio host and community activist.

And no, despite my presence as the moderator and in spite of the fact that two members of the panel have successfully defended themselves against lawsuits brought by the paper, it will not be a "bash the News-Press" session.

With newspaper readership in decline all across the country, not just here in Santa Barbara, we'll be addressing issues such as who will be taking up the task of providing daily, in-depth news, as well as investigative reporting.

Or, to put it more succinctly, can journalism survive the demise of newspapers?

One of my duties tonight will be to ask questions and to keep the discussion moving along. If you have issues that you'd like the panel to address feel free to submit your questions to me. Or you can show up and ask them yourself as we'll be taking questions from the audience.

"Keeping the Watchdog Alive in Santa Barbara and the Nation" takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight at the Faulkner Gallery located on the first floor of the Santa Barbara Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu St., and is sponsored by the Santa Barbara Community Action Network and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The evening is being videotaped by Santa Barbara Channels for future broadcast on public access community television.

And by the way, there's no episode of "Lost" on TV tonight, so there's no reason not to come down to the library.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and