Clinic Hosts Students, Editors

About 450 high school journalism students came to the University of Utah Friday to listen to the editors of The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News.

John Hughes, the editor and chief operating officer of the Deseret News, spoke about the changing nature of news since the development of the Internet.

Hughes addressed the question of whether or not print media was endangered.

“It absolutely is not,” he said. “This is a good time to put that to rest.”

Hughes said the circulation of almost every newspaper in the nation has increased since Sept. 11, even though television stations give viewers constant coverage.

“A newspaper reader wants more depth and significance,” he said. Hughes said every word in a 27 minute newscast would only fill one-half page of a newspaper.

The newspaper has many other advantages over pages on the Internet, according to Hughes. Newspapers are portable, people can clip them and share them, and they have greater credibility than information posted on the Internet.

Many people turn to the Internet for their first source of news, however.

Hughes said the proliferation of different media sources has created a more intense competition between news organizations.

Journalists have allowed traditional standards to lapse because of competition, he continued. He identified plagiarism and inventing, manipulating, overstating and misinterpreting the facts as problems.

James Shelledy, the editor of The Salt Lake Tribune spoke about responsibility to think and how independent thought has changed the world for the better.

“Respectful disagreeing is the cornerstone of democracy,” Shelledy said.

Hughes said people ought to test conventional wisdom, challenge concepts, have a skeptical eye and ear and confront and disagree.

“Confrontation for confrontation’s sake is counterproductive,” he said. “Most things do work most of the time.”

He said people should challenge problems, even though it is difficult.

“Critical, creative thinking prompts us to look for alternative correct answers,” he said.

Shelledy said ensuring a diversity of ideas is a journalistic duty.

Shelledy and Hughes spoke as part of the annual writers and photographers clinic for high school students.

“It was interesting to see the two different takes on things,” said Daniel Harbuck, a West High student at the conference. “The Tribune was more into questioning everything, while the Deseret News was obviously more conservative.”

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