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Missourian journalism prof visits JMS

Date Released: Thu, 29 August 2013 12:03 +0200

By David Mann

Activate newspaper

Jeanne Abbott, managing editor of The Missourian and professor at the School of Journalism at the University of Columbia-Missouri, will be joining the Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies this week to talk about the integration of Grocott’s Mail with the School.

Abbott will be meeting with staff from the School and Grocott’s Mail throughout the week to look at issues relating to the relationship between a news organisation and a journalism and media studies school.

She will look at the involvement of students in the production of a news organisation, the convergence that can take place between a news organisation and students specialising in various areas of journalism, and looking at Grocott’s Mail as a community newspaper and their relation and interaction with the community.

Much like Grocott’s Mail, The Missourian is a community news organisation which makes use of a large student staff. Abbott explains that she is interested in implementing some of the methods and systems used at The Missourian in the hopes of achieving the same results.

“There’s certainly an eagerness to shape some of the methods into the structure here and to produce some of the journalism students’ best work,” says Abbott. “We have a lot of young, talented students, just like over here and you can really see their dedication and their commitment to The Missourian and it’s because we are implementing their studies and the skills they learn into the news organisation. Many of our writing and online students end up spending at least two years and after that they normally always get snatched up by large news organisations.”

Fourth year writing and editing lecturer Rod Amner was the driving force behind Abbott’s trip to Grahamstown. After visiting the University of Missouri a few years back, Amner began thinking about possibly working on a relationship with Grocott’s Mail similar to the one he had seen between the University of Columbia-Missouri and The Missourian and proposed the Grahamstown trip to Abbott.

“I went over there in about 2003 and at the time, we [School of JMS] were working with different funders and stakeholders in buying Grocott’s Mail and converting it into a laboratory for our teaching, but unfortunately by the time I got there, most of the big decisions had already been made,” said Amer. “The point of going there was to look at how The Missourian had been doing things for the past 100 years so when I got back, I tried to report on some of that thinking. I went back there recently since I’ve been back the idea of implementing the methods and structures of The Missourian have been circulating in the journalism department.”

Jeanne Abbott will be meeting and working with members of the School of Journalism and Media Studies, staff of the Grocott’s Mail newsroom and postgraduate diploma students until next Tuesday, working on making a shift within the relationship between Grocott’s Mail and the School.