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Jim Spanfeller Considers the Decline and Fall of Journalism

Question: What does the demise of print newspapers mean for journalism?

 

Spanfeller:    Well, I just said a couple ways of thinking about that.  The first is, it’s obviously not great, right?  The second or the second tear of that would be that I think… I keeps saying this all the time and hopefully I say it enough will come true is that there will be a place for as many or more professional journalists in the future than there are now or than there was 10 years ago.  Now, there’s going to be a troft in the middle of that while we go through these forward types of change.  And that’s going to be a very uncomfortable time for journalism and it’s also be very uncomfortable period of time for society because again if you think about it, a free press is on the corner stones of democracy and having less of that is fundamentally not a great thing.  So, you know, hopefully we’ll move through this period faster than not.  One of the issues we faced now is I think regardless of what happened in the environment from the financing standpoint, you would’ve seen a troft right, print it, newspapers are not the best form factor whereas at one point time they were in terms of delivering locally or in current news.  The web is you know, vastly superior for that mission and you can find that just what you want to find out, you can get it with information, it’s 5 minutes older, 2 minutes old, you can tell what that information so it’s always being fed to you in ways that you’re interested in and when you want it.  Initially, we can’t do any of that.  The issue that we fed though is that’s all been accelerated by the fact that the great many of the newspapers companies have and or facing very, very big finance issues.  They’ve been leveled it up over the last decade or two in ways that simply can’t tolerate a downturn economy to the extent what we’ve had and so that’s one of the reasons why you’re seeing as many recently you know, go chapter 11 or cease to exist or reduce frequency as you are and my guess is that’s not going to stop anytime soon.

The CEO says a slump in jobs will be followed with a surge in prospects for writers.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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How Hemingway felt about fatherhood

Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.

Ernest Hemingway Holding His Son 1927 (Wikimedia Commons)
Culture & Religion

Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?

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The biology of aliens: How much do we know?

Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.

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  • Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
  • "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
  • In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.
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How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

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Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

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