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Lauren Bryant
Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Last modified: Tuesday, April 21, 2009

IU expert to explore the future of U.S. journalism in 2009 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture

Will journalism survive?

April 21, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- David H. Weaver, the Roy W. Howard Professor in journalism and mass communication research in the School of Journalism at Indiana University Bloomington, has been named the Distinguished Faculty Research Lecturer for 2009.

With newspapers and magazines using words like "freefall," "bloodbath" and "deathwatch" to describe their own industry, 21st-century journalism is clearly undergoing massive changes that are reshaping how the public receives its news.

"New communication technologies and economic forces have profoundly altered the landscape of journalism and are raising widespread concerns about the survival of some of the most trusted and respected news organizations in the United States and beyond," said Weaver, who will deliver the 2009 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture on April 29 (Wednesday) in Ernie Pyle Hall, Room 220, at 4 p.m. The public is welcome.

In his lecture, called "Journalists, Journalism and Research: What Do We Know and Why Should We Care?" Weaver will draw on his years of research -- including four major surveys of U.S. journalists, studies of voter learning in five U.S. presidential elections, and other studies of media agenda setting, newspaper readership, foreign news coverage, and press freedom -- to speculate on the future of journalism.

Weaver knows the landscape of American journalism better than most. A professor and scholar of journalism for 35 years, he's published nearly a dozen volumes of media research examining media agenda setting and politics, public opinion, newspaper readership, social science methods in reporting, and the changing characteristics of American journalists.

"At a time of significant change in the operations and institutions of journalism and mass communication, we are especially fortunate to have this opportunity to learn from David Weaver's research," said Karen Hanson, provost and executive vice president of IU Bloomington. "The Distinguished Faculty Lecture Award honors Professor Weaver's long record of outstanding scholarship, and his lecture will help us better understand the complex forces currently shaping our news and information media."

Most recently, Weaver co-edited Global Journalism Research: Theories, Methods, Findings, Future (Blackwell/Wiley, 2008), which details the opportunities and challenges facing journalism research, including the impact of global networks on the former national, cultural and disciplinary boundaries of journalism, and the increasingly blurry lines between entertainment and news and between journalism and public relations.

"David Weaver's international recognition as a scholar of mass communication is well-deserved," said Sarita Soni, vice provost for research. "Not only is he deeply knowledgeable about journalists and the particulars of their profession, but he also is an expert in assessing how research theories and methods must adapt and respond to the changing nature of mass communication fields."

Weaver spent most of the spring 2009 semester as a visiting professor of media and communication at the City University of Hong Kong and at the College of Communication at Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan.

The Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture is co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. Inaugurated in 1980, the lecture recognizes the research achievements of an IU Bloomington faculty member and is accompanied by a $3,000 award to support the lecturer's continuing research.

Past distinguished lecturers include Richard Shiffrin, Elinor Ostrom, Bruce Cole, Peter Bondanella, Meredith West, and David R. Williams.

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