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March 17, 2009 10:20 AM

The future of journalism

Posted by Lance Dickie

I've seen the future of journalism, or at least read its copy. For all of the genuine sadness that comes with the demise of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the final edition was a short course in the history, substance and service of journalism. I hope the students who competed at the Washington State Journalism Conference in Lacey spend time reading the final P-I. Much more than a grand obituary, it represented the charge and challenge for the next generation to carry forward.

The Washington Journalism Education Association presents an annual meeting and writing competition for high school students from around the state This year Timberline High School, a sparkling new campus, played host on Saturday.

At the heart of gathering is an intense competition for student reporters, editorial writers, photographers and news editors. This year the featured newsmaker was Randy Dorn, state Superintendent of Public Instruction, who spoke and was interviewed. The students then had tight deadlines to produce their varied assignments.

The contest attracted 282 entries in multiple categories, with newspaper and media folks recruited as judges. The quality of the competition was high, and yielded 50 superior ratings, 34 excellent ratings and 65 honorable mentions.

For all of the grim headlines in print and online about the future of journalism, bright students obviously see a place for themselves. The economic tempest in journalism is about delivery of the news, not the public's desire to be informed. The P-I's homage to 146 years of public service is a bright, tight and brilliant recounting of the time, talent and hard work that goes into gathering and presenting the news. And a window on the expense of associated with the task.

The distribution of all that hard work is evolving. The interest, commitment and skills behind the news are unchanged. That is what those talented students need to read and experience with the final edition of the P-I. A sad moment. A preparatory moment.

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