A panel of journalism educators and business leaders will share their ideas about integration of media and respond to audience questions during a symposium March 26 at Fort Hays State University.
Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, invited the panelists for the symposium that is intended to help steer a new direction for campus news media in the wake of the suspension of the student newspaper, The University Leader. The last printed issue of The Leader appeared on newsstands on Jan. 31. A reduction in funding from the Student Government Association, together with inadequate advertising revenue, forced it to cease publishing printed editions. An online version of The Leader continues.
The symposium is scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, in the Black and Gold Room on the second floor of FHSU's Memorial Union. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and the general public are encouraged to attend. Light refreshments will be served.
· Scott Reinardy, associate professor and chair of the News and Information Track in the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas;
· Gary Shorman, president and CEO of Eagle Communications, which is headquartered in Hays;
· Ralph Gage, director of special projects for The Lawrence Journal-World;
· Pat Lowry, editor and publisher of The Hays Daily News; and
· Laura York Guy, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Scholastic Press Association, first vice president of Kansas Collegiate Media, and media instructor and media adviser at Garden City Community College.
President Hammond appointed a Task Force on Dissemination of News and Information, which will submit recommendations by April 19 in time to be considered in the budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1.
"The charge to the task force is to review the media needs and aspirations of the FHSU community and then to develop recommendations aimed at increasing student engagement and implementing a multi-media model for the dissemination of student-produced news, information, analysis, opinion and entertainment," he said.
The staff of The Leader had requested emergency funding from the president, but he declined, opting instead to seize the situation as an opportunity to create a new model for student media. President Hammond described the symposium as an important step in providing information for the task force.
"FHSU is looking not to reduce its investment in the dissemination of news and information but to strengthen engagement with members of our community in responsible and efficient ways," the president said.
In an interesting new development since the task force began its work, the Student Government Association voted to restore funding for The Leader for the 2013-2014 academic year. Meeting with the task force last week, President Hammond said funding for an integrated model of delivery was not part of their charge, so the SGA decision to allocate $51,000 to The Leader next year was not pertinent to their work.
At the same meeting, Dr. Larry Gould, FHSU provost, urged members of the task force not to lose the opportunity they had been given to do something different with print media. Gould said the work of the task force had created excitement within the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. "They are looking forward to seeing what we do," he said. "This can bring great attention to FHSU."
The task force plans an open forum sometime during the week following the symposium to give members of the university community an opportunity to express their thoughts about new directions for student media. Therefore, audience questions during the symposium should be focused on tapping into the experience and knowledge of the panelists.
Members of the Task Force on Dissemination of News and Information:
· Dr. Paul Faber, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, chair;
· Dr. Scott Robson, chair of the Department of Communication Studies;
· Stephen Schleicher, chair of the Department of Informatics;
· Ron Rohlf, instructor of informatics;
· Dr. Chapman Rackaway, associate professor of political science;
· Shana Meyer, assistant vice president of student affairs;
· Jennifer Robinson, graphics and animation specialist in the Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning Technology;
· Gentry Heimerman, Halstead junior; and
· Matthew Whitmore, St. Francis senior.
The symposium will be broadcast live on the FHSU website -- www.fhsu.edu -- and on the student television station, KFHS. The broadcast will be archived for later viewing.