To acquire wisdom, one must observe

The future of journalism: Interview with Prof. Adriana Lacy

This is Professor Adriana Lacy’s first semester teaching in the journalism program at Brandeis. Besides teaching at Brandeis, she is also the Digital and Audience Engagement Editor for Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation. Before coming to Brandeis, she worked for the New York Times, Axios and the Los Angeles Times, and taught at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

In an interview with The Brandeis Hoot, Lacy shared her experience in the field of journalism and offered some suggestions to The Hoot.


This is your first semester at Brandeis. Why did you decide to come here?

I had just moved to Boston and I was just looking for a place to teach. I wanted to kind of teach at a place where I knew it would be really small-knit and just really supportive of the work that I do. I found Brandeis and I really enjoyed the faculty here and the resources. I thought it would be a great opportunity. 

How does the journalism program at Brandeis differ from other institutions you have taught or worked at? 

I think that a lot of the places I’ve taught at have had a journalism major. This is the first place I’ve come that has the minor, but I think the minor is really strong here. What I really like is that there are so many different types of courses here. I think usually you don’t find that in small places, but here there are so many really great courses and really great professors. Brandeis does a really great job in cultivating an engaging journalism program. Compared to other larger institutions, I think the biggest difference is that a lot of students here may not necessarily want to go into journalism, but they are really interested in journalism. So I think that’s always really great—to have students who can use these skills, even if they are not going into journalism.

As an expert on social media, do you have any comments on the future of paper media?

I think it’s not going to exist. In a long time. I think it will be a little bit [longer], but I do think that we are moving into a place where there is not going to be a lot of print media. I think there will still be a few places, like The New York Times, for example, [to be printing]. We’ll still print for a really long time. Also, we will still see a lot of magazines in print, like The New Yorker and Vogue. But I think that a lot of the smaller media companies will maybe stop printing just because it may not be financially feasible anymore. 

In your opinion, what is the biggest revolution of the development of social media in recent years? How have you worked to address the change?

Wow, that’s a big question. I think the biggest thing is just this idea of aggregating content. For so long you kind of had to read a bunch of different places to find the news, but now being able to have Apple News, for example, where everyone can go to one place and read a bunch of different stories, has helped people read more because they can find everything in one place. Also, I think the ability to connect with people on social media has been [having] a really big impact.

Do you have any comments for The Hoot’s social media page?

I have seen your website before. I really like the website. One great thing about it is that you all have really great photos at the top and a lot of really different topics. I also really like the submissions that you have. I think that the idea of community-centered journalism and hearing from people is really important.

I’m looking at your Instagram account right now. I think it looks really great. I love how its look and feel are kind of the same across all of it. The branding looks really great and looks really neat and professional. I think it’s a great way to share the news in a way that is really positive for people.

Do you have any suggestions for us?

I think the biggest thing is maybe just to switch it up a little bit. Post more photos without text, like galleries you could do of … an event on campus. Sharing more moments like that could be a really great way to do things. Even Instagram started off as a photo platform, so people still want a little bit of photography. And then also experimenting with more video content. Reels are really big right now. 

As a woman of color, have you had any challenges working in the journalism field? 

Yes, I think one big thing about journalism is that it’s not as diverse as it should be. There weren’t a lot of women of color working in journalism, so I think the biggest challenge has been finding people who look like me in the industry. That is also why for me it has been really important to do things to help get more women of color in the industry and more people from marginalized backgrounds, so that the industry can be more diverse, which helps us tell stories better and really reach different communities.

Can you introduce the class that you will be teaching next semester?

I’ll be teaching a class called Reporting on Diverse Communities. In this class, we’ll be looking at communities that maybe have not been served well by the media, and figuring out the best ways you can reach them. We will be looking at the platforms that these communities are on, and thinking about how we write stories and how we can make sure that our reporting is inclusive. It is exactly similar to the idea of getting minorities in the journalism field. I think even for people who may not come from these communities, it’s important that they learn how to cover communities that are not like them. And I think that’s really important for anyone to learn how to cover people who are different than you.

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