My name is Rachel Geistfeld, I’m a senior Performance Studies and French major from outside the Twin Cities. I’ll be serving as the Student Live-Blogger for this year’s IMS trip, updating you daily about the SoC’s time in Paris.
You guys. Today was a huuuuuge day with lots of really big names in journalism and in history. We had four different speakers at AUP this morning, we went on a tour of another newspaper company and we met John Morris! Some of us even went all the way to Sacré Coeur and had fondue after that! I know that I personally will probably be asleep for about a week after this trip is over, so if you think of any future comments, please direct them to Dream Rachel.
Returning to our exciting speakers, though.
This morning we heard from Ann and Don Morrison, formerly co-editors of Time Magazine Europe. Anne was also Editor of Asiaweek Magazine in Hong Kong and Executive Editor for Fortune Magazine, New York. Don was also Executive Editor for Time Magazine Asia and Assistant Managing Editor for Time Magazine New York.
They both told us about their lives all around the world in a joint presentation called “Three Continents, Two Careers, One Couple, Two Kids, No Dogs.” They also shared some specific updates about journalism with us. All week long we’ve been hearing about the shift to online media, but this was the first time that we had any data on the matter.
– 1/3 of all newsroom jobs in the U.S in 2000 are gone.
– Only 14% of news websites, though, provide original reportorial content
– Of about 1 million U.S. blogs and social networking sites, 80& of links are to old media sites
Basically, Ms. Morrison’s data shows that newspapers still provide the only reportorial content on the internet. Although opinions can be found anywhere, newspapers are still the only places for facts on the matter.
The second speaker we heard from was Jean-Marc Illouz, Senior International Correspondent for France 2 TV. He discussed an issue that few of us knew about – France’s occupation of Mali. He gave us a bit of history and then told us about his disappointment in the United States’ international coverage Mr. Illouz believes that the US media does not do enough to get readers excited about the rest of the world, and that the Middle East is not portrayed accurately. Although a lot of opinionated information is available in blogs, there are not many sources of unbiased reporting. He suggested that we all read Al Jazeera English so that we could better understand the events abroad.
Our third speaker works in the fashion industry. Madeleine Czigier showed us a documentary on Hermès handbags. Let me tell you, these things don’t come cheap. The typical wait time for an Hermès bag is 5 years, and the starting price is around $5,000. As someone who isn’t particularly interested in fashion, I found this documentary to actually be pretty cool and would suggest you check it out some time, dear reader!
After this meeting, we went over to Libération, a (once Communist, now closer to the center) newspaper in Paris.
We heard about different stories done by the newspaper (election coverage, new online blog, its various forums for debate) and also its current shift to online. Currently, Libération’s online presence is in the phase where it still needs many advertisers in order to make a profit. Hopefully that will change soon!
We then went to our last event of the day – a meeting with the legendary John G. Morris. You guys – this man is incredible. He’s 96 years old and he has lived an extraordinary life. Throughout World War II, he worked in London for the weekly picture magazine Life. After the war, he went to be the Picture Editor of Ladies’ Home Journal, the Executive Editor of Magnum, Assistant Managing Editor for Graphics of The Washington Post and Picture Editor of the New York Times. We were invited to go to his house and see pictures from his entire career. They were absolutely breathtaking, not just because of their historical significance, but because Mr. Morris had stories for every single photo. It was very humbling to listen to someone who has seen so much history and been able to share it with the world. Today, Mr. Morris primarily does peace work. He is very involved with Democrats Abroad (the organization that Eileen Bastianelli works for!) and he also frequently writes to senators and to The White House. Mr. Morris was adamant that every person, young and old, can get involved with politics and should strive to be informed about current events and the government. I honestly can’t find the words to describe how cool it was to hear this man speak.
Overall, today was a day where we got to hear from a lot of journalism veterans. We’ve been hearing a lot this week from people who are still working in the field, but it was great to hear more about how journalism and media has evolved over the past century.