(315) 341-2265
Sept. 26, 2001
CONTACT: John Hatcher, 312-5427
OSWEGO -- A nationally recognized journalist who helped launch SUNY Oswego's Center for Community Journalism will speak at a public forum on Oct. 5, addressing how the media covered the tragedy of Sept. 11 as well as the role of the community press in society.
For 15 years, Vicki Simons edited The Independent, a twice-weekly newspaper covering Columbia and southern Rensselaer counties. In 1998, she received the National Newspapers Association's Emma McKinney Award as an outstanding woman in community journalism.
Simons said she looks forward to spending a week touring college campuses and talking about how journalism can serve local communities. She believes small-town newspapers can offer journalism students a rewarding career.
During her visit to Oswego, Simons will meet with journalism students, including the staff of The Oswegonian, and speak at a public forum at 10:20 a.m. in Room 34C of Lanigan Hall.
Her visit to Oswego is part of the second annual Editor in Residence Program, a four-campus tour sponsored by the Center for Community Journalism and the New York Press Association that will also take her to St. John Fisher College, St. Bonaventure University and SUNY New Paltz.
The program is designed to expose universities to journalists who work in the community press, generally defined as smaller daily and weekly publications that focus on local, community issues.
Simons said journalists at community presses "are providing a kind of community news that's become more important to people, and their work is rewarded by a growing advertising and readership base."
The Independent started out as a weekly with a small circulation of approximately 2,000. Under the leadership of Simons and her husband, Tony Jones, the paper became a twice-weekly with a circulation of roughly 10,000. Jones and Simons sold The Independent's parent company, Independent Publishing, to the Journal Register Co. of Trenton, N.J., in August.
She served as the president of the New York Press Association in 1996 and 1997 and was a key figure in building the relationship between the organization and Oswego's Center for Community Journalism. She is currently the vice president of the center's advisory board.
The Center for Community Journalism, located in Lanigan Hall, provides continuing journalism education for students who are interested in pursuing a career in community news. It also sponsors writers' workshops and seminars at New York state campuses and on-site training at newspapers across New York.
To find out more about the center, visit its Web site at Oswego.edu/ccj or e-mail ccj@oswego.edu.
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