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GOODBYE, FOR NOW: Fans slap hands with senior Nate Harris, at the head of the line, after the Aggies beat SJSU to secure the No. 2 WAC seed. See story in Sports. / Photo by Robert McDaniel

Today's word on journalism

Monday, March 6, 2006

"Neutrality in journalism means refusal to take sides. Many newspapers are neutral with regard to certain issues. Hardly a newspaper exists which is completely neutral upon all issues. Such a newspaper would be regarded as spineless. Just as the individual cannot escape taking sides against evils in life, so the newspaper necessarily has convictions against crime, corruption, and other evils in public affairs."

--George Fox Mott, journalism professor, in "An Outline Survey of Journalism," 1940

In 1998, when the first Web-savvy futurists at Utah State University's journalism and communication department huddled around a computer screen to build an online "newspaper," they faced a tough challenge: How to create a news service that was both technologically and editorially sound. No glitz, no bells and whistles, just credible and appealing, in every sense of the word.

Those were the proving days of Internet journalism. And they were rough.

Online news sources were derided as the untrustworthy bastard children of traditional media. The Chronicle of Higher Education had dismissed the Internet as "a shallow and unreliable electronic repository of dirty pictures, inaccurate rumors, bad spelling and worse grammar, inhabited largely by people with no demonstrable social skills."

Flash forward: The doubters are eating their words – unsweetened.

Online journalism is no longer an oxymoron, and as the Internet has matured, we, at the Hard News Café, have, too.

In the years since our launch in 1998, the HNC has bagged a slew of awards, hitting a high point in 2002, when the site was named one of the three best independent student online publications in the country by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Our writers also have made their own mark, receiving SPJ recognition at both regional and national levels. In short, we’ve met the challenge head on, elevating the HNC into the top echelon of web-based news delivery.

With our new design, we hope to go a step further, bringing together print journalism, broadcast TV, photography and graphic design in a new form. And as JCOM department head Ted Pease points out, "It's not just old stuff in a new package. Additional new skills and, especially, a new way of thinking about news and audiences are required in delivering information this way."

A few things will stay the same. The site will continue to draws its material from students in regular reporting classes and from others who submit articles to the student editors. Local journalism gurus and USU professors Mike Sweeney and Nancy Williams will still oversee it.

We're ready to deliver your news to you.

Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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