Online news proposal accepted for conference

The Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association has accepted a proposal that my wife Anne and I submitted for the association’s 2015 conference.

We titled our proposal “Have online news sites altered our sense of community?”

It will be included in the Journalism and News Media area of the conference, which will take place at the Sonesta Philadelphia from Nov. 5 to 7.

In our presentation, we plan to discuss whether the growth of the Internet has shifted the sense of community from physical, geographically-defined communities to communities formed around subjects such as sports, theater and public policy.

To explore this question, we will track the manner in which individuals access stories on The Convergence, an online news site covering several communities in Western New York State. The Convergence is staffed by students at St. Bonaventure University as part of the journalism school’s experiential learning curriculum requirement.

During the fall, students will track whether visitors to the site access stories by clicking on the name of one of the communities The Convergence covers or by clicking on the name of one of The Convergence’s sections (news, features, sports, etc.). The results will be supplemented by anecdotal information gathered by the students as they cover their beats, which will be defined both geographically and topically.

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