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Annual Journalism Forum is Coming to Bucks

Philly.com+reporter+Tommy+Rowan+
Philly.com reporter Tommy Rowan

Philly.com reporter Tommy Rowan

Philly.com reporter Tommy Rowan

Hal Conte, Centurion Staff

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Bucks is poised to launch its annual journalism forum in April, with reporters aiming to promote the myriad career opportunities available for journalism students even as the news business deals with multiple threats to its business model.

“It’s about how to make it in journalism,” said Tony Rogers, professor of journalism at Bucks. “The majority of our speakers are former Bucks journalism students who have gone on to forge terrific careers for themselves. I think the experiences they share will be very relevant to our students.”

Since 2008, newsrooms across the country have downsized their staffs in an attempt to respond to financial difficulties arising from a major drop in print advertising. Nonetheless, Rogers is optimistic about the future of the industry, and believes that aspiring journalists will be able to find careers.

The list of speakers at the journalism conference includes Tom Sofield, a former Bucks student who has gone on to found LevittownNow, a local news website that has gained over 100,000 subscribers since its founding, as well as Anthony DiMattia, who became a staff writer for the Bucks County Courier Times just one year after graduating in 2013. DiMattia is now a copy editor at the paper.

“Our other speakers, including Freda Savana [for the Doylestown Intelligencer] and Jarrett Renshaw [for Reuters], are just terrific journalists who can share their wide-ranging experiences in news with our students,” Rogers said.

Journalists who have spoken at the conference previously include Steve Capus, a Bucks alumnus who is currently the executive editor of CBS News, as well as reporters from the New York Times and Channel 6 action news.

The speakers plan to address a wide range of topics, from life in the newsroom to the rise of video journalism, a trend that has caused many traditional journalistic outlets to refocus their efforts.

“Video journalism used to be the domain of just broadcast news. But those kinds of technologies are now part and parcel of journalism, whether you are working in broadcast, print or online,” explained Rogers. “So I’m sure our speakers will have plenty of knowledge and expertise to share about that.”

Speakers may also be compelled to answer student questions about “fake news,” a term that has been used in varying capacities by Democrats and Republicans to describe outlets ranging from CNN to Breitbart News.

“Our speakers all work for reputable news organizations, not so-called fake news sites,” Rogers said. “But I’m sure they’ll be able to talk about what impact, if any, these issues have had where they work.”

Rogers stressed the point that the conference isn’t just for students who already know they want to enter the field. “These forums would be good for students who might be considering going into journalism, because it shows what the possibilities are.”

The conferences are scheduled for Monday, April 17, from 9 to 10:15 a.m, and on Tuesday, April 18, from 8 to 9:15 a.m. and from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. in Rollins 127.

Asked if he had any advice for students attending the conference, Rogers answered, “Just show up, and come with plenty of questions.

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The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College
Annual Journalism Forum is Coming to Bucks