Keep Up or Keep Out

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Professor Amy Eisman says if you don’t keep up with the times, you’ll get left behind.

Today, that includes innovations such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and blogging. Some of her former coworkers at Gannett and AOL still resist this change. But Eisman said embracing change and trying new approaches will go further in tight economic times.

The biggest challenge facing journalism today is the economy, she told the graduate journalism class of 2010. But rest assured, she said new forms will grow from the ashes. She continued by saying the pressure will release as journalists come up with new distribution and gathering methods.

Eisman has always worked in innovation. She reported for years at USA Weekend, AOL and USA Today, which is considered the innovator of “web writing” in print form. USA Today, once criticized for its colorful pie charts and graphs, now serves as a model for the future of print journalism. She said criticism of USA Today was invalid, and that it actually became the first web newspaper in the country.

“My nature is to always try something new,” she said.

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Professor Olmsted talks about today's headlines

Even though the latest gadgets and Web sites are important, she says genuine curiosity and flexibility are key to surviving in the business.

Eisman says her job is rewarding because you can learn “a little about everything,” and sit “front row to history,” by becoming a journalist. Today, journalists will learn even more with the introduction of aggregate sites, blogs, and mutlimedia platforms.

Will newspapers ever die? She envisions more flexible, nimble, smaller newsrooms.

But the age-old art of storytelling, she says, will never die.

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