Recent Posts

Hot off the Presses: The role of early Cobourg newspapers in creating community – speech to Cobourg Historical Society

Speech Cobourg Historical Society
Jan. 25, 2011

Thank-you. Mr. Gregory, Mr. Strauss, members of the executive and, in particular, Ms. Rostetter-Saunders and ladies and gentlemen, I wish to start by thanking the Cobourg and District Historical Society for this incredible opportunity. This is an organization with a rich history of its own. While the most recent incarnation was formed in 1980, the society dates back to 1901.  When I think about all the people who have stood where I am tonight, I am deeply honoured to be speaking. Continue Reading →

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Community journalism critical to rural Canada’s survival

With the closure of a number of community newspaper, the search for a sustainable model is elusive. While most academics frame the debate over these closure in terms of the impact on local democracy or the failure of an economic model, there may be another way to view the issue – through the lens of rural sustainability. Here are three articles I recent wrote for J-Source indicating some thoughts on this important aspect of journalism. Here is the introduction I wrote for the three-part series:

“When a community newspaper closes, it is a great loss. Still, publishers will argue it is the economic reality of the times. Continue Reading →

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The special place at Trent for journalists

By Robert Washburn

When setting up the first round of face-to-face meetings with my students in the Trent-Loyalist Joint Journalism Program, a room was needed. Thanks to Jeff Langevin, at Trent, an open room was found at Otonabee College. Built in the early 1970s, the architects used a lot of poured concrete in a very innovative way. However the feeling of the interiors can be quiet strange. The room for our use is OC171, which sits at the end of a very long hall. Continue Reading →

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Journalism Strategies Conference: What’s next?

There is an inspiring moment in the award-winning television series West Wing when Martin Sheen’s character, President Jed Bartlet, asks, “What’s next?”

It is a defining moment. Rather than go over points he already understands, Bartlet is anxious to move on to the next challenge rather than waste time laboring over things he cannot change. Once a decision is made, then what is next? (more…) Continue Reading →

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Journalism Strategies Conference: I want to be a Sunshine Boy

I want to be a Sunshine Boy. No, not the half-naked guys found the in Sun newspapers. For anyone who knows me, that is a terrifying mental picture. Instead, I want to join with Tony Burman, who spoke at the Journalism Strategies Conference in Montreal, last night. The former head of CBC and Al Jazeera, told an audience of more than 200, he can see some sunshine peaking through the rather dark clouds gathering around journalism in Canada. Continue Reading →

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Cobourg journalist and educator experiments with technology

COBOURG — Loyalist College professor Robert Washburn is test-driving what he considers a new model of journalism — for what he hopes will be a published paper, and what he is confident will work out to the benefit of students in the Journalism: On-line, Print and Broadcast program. For full story see Northumberland Today

Thanks to Cecilia Nasmith, the reporter for this story, who gave a great summary of my research into hyperlocal journalism and its role in revitalizing journalism in rural Canada. Not an easy topic at the best of times. She did a great job capturing what I am doing on this site over the next few months. Continue Reading →

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E-journalism, hyperlocal news represent future of journalism

There are many futures for journalism. On Thursday, I got a chance to explore some of those with a great group of graduate students, professors and local journalists at Bagnani Hall At Traill College on the campus of Trent University in Peteroborugh. First, I need to thank Chris Doody and Amanda Miller for their excellent coverage on the graduate website DON’T PANIC. Chris gave a good summary of the ideas we discussed. Amanda was given the task of tweeting the event for me and did a fabulous job. Continue Reading →

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