Director candidate: Journalism industry needs a change in business model

As a journalist who has worked for the Associated Press for more than 30 years, John O. Lumpkin has seen the industry change several times.

In the midst of staff cuts and layoffs, Lumpkin said it is time for his industry to change its business model.

Lumpkin, a candidate for the open director position of the Schieffer School of Journalism, spoke to students and faculty in the school Thursday in Moudy Building South.

“It’s not too far fetched to say that most of the original journalism is still being created by local newspaper staffs,” Lumpkin said.

Lumpkin said the golden age of newspapers occurred in the 1960s, when printing materials became cheap and the print medium served as the major source for retail advertising.

Since then, Lumpkin said the loss of local competition, the lack of available time for most people due to longer commutes and the consolidation of advertisers have all contributed to smaller circulation numbers for newspapers.

However, Lumpkin said eventually, a return to the journalism created by traditional media will occur. Lumpkin admitted Internet blogs and opinionated TV shows had become extremely popular, but he said new media “don’t create any original journalism to speak of.”

Lumpkin has been employed with the Associated Press since 1971. He currently serves as vice president for the U.S. and Latin American markets. Lumpkin’s wife, Eileen, and son, John, both graduated from TCU.

Lumpkin and Caesar Andrews have been named as finalists for the director position.

Dr. John Tisdale, interim director of the Schieffer School, said a third finalist would also visit campus. Tisdale did not give a time frame for when a director would be named, but he said, “I, personally, would like to have a decision before the end of the semester.”