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Media Advisory.

Media Advisory

Will newspapers survive? U of M media expert Nora Paul to speak about future for news organizations

Contacts: Rachel Wright, College of Continuing Education, (612) 624-7770,
Ryan Maus, University News Service, (612) 624-1690,

November 30, 2009

Will newspapers survive the changes undergoing today's media landscape? University of Minnesota new media expert Nora Paul will speak about how news organizations are changing in response to tough financial realities and new methods of communication. Her talk is part of the College of Continuing Education's "Headliners" series and will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3 at the Continuing Education and Conference Center, 1890 Buford Ave., St. Paul.

Last year was the worst on record for the U.S. newspaper industry. Already hit hard by decreasing circulation and declining ad revenues, newspapers across the country laid off staff and cut editions to counter the combined effects of online competition and economic recession. Locally, the Star Tribune filed for bankruptcy protection in January, only emerging in late September. It subsequently announced staff cuts, including several in the newsroom.  Just months after Star Tribune workers agreed to concessions in bankruptcy, the St. Paul Pioneer Press opened discussions with its Guild members seeking similar cuts.

For most of the 20th century, newspapers were the primary source of information for the American public. At their best, they held governments and corporations accountable and set the news agenda for the rest of the mass media. Until the early 1990s, the newspaper business was doing extremely well, earning staggering returns for its owners and shareholders. But more recently, it has been forced to rethink its place in a world of wireless communication.

Are today's diminished news organizations capable of sustaining the informed citizenry on which democracy depends? Are newspapers an endangered species? Or are they just obsessing too much over the "paper" part of their names?

Paul will speak to these issues as part of the December Headliners event. Her talk will be followed by a Q&A with audience members.

Tickets are $10, and can be purchased at, by calling (612) 624-4000, or at the door. The Continuing Education and Conference Center (formerly the Earle Brown Center) is located on the university’s St. Paul campus.

Nora Paul was named the first director of the Institute for New Media Studies at the University of Minnesota in 2000. A seasoned journalist, researcher, and news librarian, she worked for nine years at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, one of the top journalism schools in the country, and served as the editor of information services at the Miami Herald from 1979-91 where she developed one of the earliest electronic news archives. A national authority on new media, she is the author of several books on the subject including "Computer Assisted Research: A Guide to Tapping Online Information," which is now in its fourth edition.

Headliners, offered by the University of Minnesota, is a chance to meet once a month with university and community experts as they share firsthand knowledge of the day’s most intriguing stories—the medical breakthroughs, culture clashes, social trends, and foreign affairs that are making headlines.

Through the University of Minnesota’s College of Continuing Education, motivated adults enrich their personal and professional lives through learning opportunities ranging from courses, workshops, and conferences to credit certificates and bachelor’s and master’s degrees. For more information about the college, call (612) 624-4000 or visit

Tags: College of Continuing Education, College of Liberal Arts

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