New podcast series investigates the state of journalism

Last month, in its “State of the News Media 2016” report, the Pew Research Center shared that two-thirds of U.S. adults said they learned about the presidential election from digital sources, including news sites, apps and social networking sites. By comparison, Pew reported, in 2012, just 17 percent of U.S. adults said they turned to any social media for election news.

So what happens when citizens get most of their news from digital platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat, where sources of information are often unverified? Who is going to provide citizens with the information they need to know as the news landscape shifts away from traditional media and the code of journalism ethics?

These are questions TCU alumnus Bob Schieffer, CBS News contributor and former Face the Nation host; Andrew Schwartz, senior vice president for external relations at the Center for Strategic & International Studies and a member of the Schieffer College Board of Visitors; and Kristie Bunton, dean of the Bob Schieffer College of Communication, discussed last fall when the idea for a project investigating the future of journalism sprang to life.

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“We wanted to know how changes in the world of journalism are affecting the public and decided to ask experts from across the spectrum of news media,” said Bunton. “The College, in conjunction with CSIS, has launched a yearlong series of podcast interviews titled About the News.”

Schieffer and Schwartz will hold weekly conversations about journalism and its impact on politics and policy with leaders from traditional media organizations, digitally native news platforms, social media companies and other top thought leaders.

Six About the News podcast episodes are now available on iTunes and CSIS.org, featuring The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur, Snapchat’s Peter Hamby, MSNBC Morning Joe hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, The Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron, CBS News President David Rhodes and BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith. New episodes will be available each week.

“The American people have access to more information than any people in history,” said Schieffer. “But are we more informed or just overwhelmed with so much information we can’t process it? That’s what we’ll try to understand as we explore the communications landscape over the next year.”

Ultimately, the trio hopes the project might include a website with teaching materials available for journalism education programs that don’t have access to top thought leaders in journalism. Additionally, Schieffer and Schwartz may publish a book of essays or findings based on what they learn in their conversations. In the meantime, Dean Bunton encourages TCU’s journalism professors to use the podcast in their classes.

CSIS is a bipartisan, non-profit organization that seeks to advance global security and prosperity by providing strategic insights and practical policy solutions to decision-makers.

The Bob Schieffer College of Communication comprises four departments: communication studies; film, television and digital media; journalism; and strategic communication. Through a mixture of lecture-style and hands-on, in-the-field curricula, the college offers experiences that prepare students for success in today’s global communication environment.