National college media keynote speaker discusses the future of print journalism

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Thursday's keynote speaker at the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention in Austin, Texas was Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Ken Herman.

(AUSTIN, TEXAS) – The future of journalism is online as newspapers seek to cut printing costs, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ken Herman told student journalist gathered for the College Media Association convention.

“The goal is to get rid of the print edition of the paper,” Herman said.

Herman said, noting printing and delivery costs are viewed as expendable.

“Newspapers were a little slow to realize the importance of the Internet,” Herman said. “Print doesn’t compare to the amount of people that can be reached by digital media.

It is all part of the transition, Herman said.

“There is more and better (news) covered online,” Herman said.

Herman used the example that if a sporting event takes place late on Saturday evening the Sunday print edition is going to advise readers to see the story posted on the website.

Herman has seen many changes in the news business over his career and said that there are people in the younger generations that will never pick up a newspaper.

“Younger people will not read it,” Herman said. “Ten to 15 years all newspapers will be moving online.”

In the 80’s and 90’s they told us we needed to get more young people reading the paper, Herman said. “Total failure,” he said.

Young people will grow older, graduate college, get married, raise children and begin paying more attention to the things around them, he said, noting that as people get older, they pay more attention to events. Yet that doesn’t mean younger generations will pick up printed newspapers.

Herman concluded his address by fielding questions from the student journalists about his career and the difficulties experienced with transitioning to a digital format.

Herman began his journalism career in 1975 and worked for local papers, The Associated Press in various locations and then the American Statesman in Austin, Texas, as Capitol Bureau Chief.

Herman won the Pulitzer for meritorious public service in 1977, while working the Lufkin Daily News.

“We should expose ourselves to things we disagree with – makes us better people,” Herman said.

Todd Bowman is a staff writer for The Picket. He can be reached at tbowma04@rams.shepherd.edu or on Twitter @todd_bowman87.