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Friday, March 31, 2006

Yesterday's speaking engagement

I had the pleasure yesterday of participating in a panel discussion about investigative journalism at John Carroll University. Also on the panel were the three Daves — Dave Davis from The Plain Dealer, David Knox from the Akron Beacon Journal and David Fitz, formerly press secretary to Jane Campbell and now veep of communications for University Circle Inc.

We were charged with discussing investigative journalism with journalists from Colombia, India, Yemen, Uganda and Zimbabwe. They were in town through a U.S. State Department tour, arranged locally by the Cleveland Council on World Affairs.

We were unable to record the program because of fear of reprisals from some of the governments of the journalists' home countries. But their questions were incredibly fascinating and their worldview on journalism in particular was eye-opening.

My co-panelists and I discussed the growing influence and investigative reporting prowess of bloggers, how the bottom line implicates news coverage, how major news organizations have cut back on state coverage even as the state politics affect all Ohioans and the merits of a Federal Shield Law.

It was a good entree into a much larger discussion that must take place in Northeast Ohio regarding how news organizations and the citizen journalists can evolve together. Stay tuned on that front.

I'll be on statewide tour next week operating from my remote homebase of my sister's house in Columbus. Posting will likely be sporadic:

First stop is Ohio University where I will talk to the student chapter of SPJ. While I'm there I plan to have coffee with one of my former professors and take a nice tour of the campus. I haven't been back in 10 years so I'm told many things have changed.

I'll be in Columbus on Wednesday and Thursday for a KnowledgeWorks writing workshop. And then I'm headed to Cincinnati on Friday and Saturday for the SPJ Region 4 convention. Again, I'll be talking about freelancing and reconnecting with some of my favorite SPJ pals.

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