Convergence Journalism has been invited to Ukraine by the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.
Twenty-five working journalists became a part of the National Mohyla Academy’s Digital Future of Journalism Program in a Nov. 5 ceremony. The students, all working journalist in Ukraine, will spend one week each month for 10 months learning the basics of convergence journalism and digital media.
Yevhen Fedchenko, au.veik.amku|oknehcdef#au.veik.amku|oknehcdef , director of the school of journalism and director of the project, said it took 10 months to organize and write the grant for the program and set up the first session.
Ruslan Deynychenko is executive director of Digital Future of Journalism. The professor is also a contributor to Voice of America. He said the reason the journalists in the program are women is because "mostly women applied" and those chosen were judged the most qualified.
The Mohyla Academy program is, Fedchenko writes, "is sponsored by Development of Ukraine charitable foundation of System Capital
Management(SCM) Segodnya Multimedia, owner of Ukraine’s second largest daily newspaper, Сеґодня, according to Guillermo Schmitt, the chief executive officer, publisher and editor-in-chief. Schmitt has been brought in from Argentina on a five-year contract. He has a reputation as a turn-around publisher and his goal is to move Сеґодня to number one and create a strong digital presence. Ukraine is growing quickly from its estimated current one percent web penetration nationally. In Western Ukraine, web penetration in cities is estimated at 20 percent,1. with most of it being dial-up. However, a Polish company in September announced major investment plans for Ukraine to expand Ukraine's internet.
Сеґодня needs convergence journalists as its site hosts a full range of multimedia stories. As in the U.S., it appears the multimedia journalist will be in high demand as old, Soviet-style TV and newspaper operations are privatized and competition moves in from Germany, Poland and other EU countries.2
All About Schmitt
Schmitt, au.ayndoges|ttimhcs#au.ayndoges|ttimhcs , represents globalization in mass communication. A Spanish speaker, with English as a second language, who knows no Ukrainian or Russian, but is running a Kiev3 newspaper in a joint operation with a company from the Netherlands.
Schmitt in private remarks said his first job was to demand integrity of his staffs. He started by firing anyone suspected of corruption4. He said the journalists came to him and expressed their gratitude. He said integrity must start at the top, this in a nation in which at least two leading candidates for president have been investigated for alleged criminal conduct.
He has also banned drinking in the newsroom.
Any newsstand in Ukraine is layered in local newspapers.
There is no home or mail delivery of newspapers, so all sales are on the street. Schmitt sees newspapers continuing to be popular, even as he noted Bill Gates had announced in 1997 that newspapers are dead. Schmitt said what is really happening is “transformation, not death.”
The man who made La Nacion the leading newspaper of the Argentine said the average Argentinean spends $100 per year on mass media. In Ukraine, a person spends only $20, yet the Ukraine economy is only half that of Argentina’s—not one-fifth. Citing his nine percent growth the first year at Сеґодня, Schmitt told his Ukrainian audience, “Everything will grow for you.”
Those news organizations who embrace convergence, Schmitt said, can expect to exceed the 27 percent growth in annual advertising income and top 45 percent. He is budgeting a move from 45 pages to 100 pages of print, while expanding his online staff.
He dismissed the state-owned media outlets remaining from Soviet times. He said media is a business, and a business exists only when it is touched by reality. “The touch of reality is money.”
One speaker, an academy professor, said he saw a state-owned outlet and a corporate outlet as equally bad for journalism. However, Schmitt said a state enterprise can never be a business. “No business is a business unless it is truly independent.” And business independence equals journalistic independence.
Schmitt said, for the 25 journalists in the DFJ, “A journey of growth continues.” Encouraging all in the room to “fight to learn,” Schmitt concluded, “These people have a brilliant future.”
AEJMC Academics Present Master Worshop
Immediately after the opening speeches, two members of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication began the first of that week’s master classes. Augie Grant from the University of South Carolina’s NewsPlex opened the class with an introduction to the expanding world of online and converged media.
He was joined by Roger Cooper, Ohio Univeristy, ude.oiho|repooc#ude.oiho|repooc .
While those who have been working in convergence found much of the presentations old stuff, it was clear the audience, many of who already work online, were not aware of just how many opportunities there are today for the convergence journalist—nor was this writer aware of the latest breadth of the industry, either.
Here’s some of their more interesting facts:
- People follow stories—not a medium—and follow stories between many media.
- Thirty percent of the time Americans spending using media, they are using more than one medium.
- Between 1994 and 2006
- Newspaper readership dropped 18 percent
- TV viewership dropped 21 percent
- Radio listenership dropped 23 percent
- Seventy-eight point six percent of Americans are online
- Seventy-eight percent of Americans have broadbrand
- Online advertising is increasing about 25 percent per year
- In 2008, online usership will pass newspaper readership
- TV is still number one
- Americans use media 10 hours per day
Grant pointed out that the growth of the internet usage is a direct result of broadband replacing dial-up. People turn to the internet for information because it is always on.
Grant said traditional media prized accuracy over immediacy. Today, he said, a medium must deliver both.
Grant has seen the future. Two weeks before he was in Korea. Koreans are watching TV on the cellphone. Norwegian new media companies are reporting increases of profits from 43 percent to 70 percent. The cellphone is dubbed “The Third Screen.” It can now HOST ANY MEDIUM.
And the cell phone can REPORT IN ANY MEDIUM.
Grant said this is the new media calculation:
Readers now demand room for their stories and images in the news hole. And some news organizations are also sharing the profits when quality reader stories deliver hits.
Cooper showed the audience a range of tools they must learn to be convergence journalists. But he said, he was talking about “adaptations of tools, but not values.”
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