Context is Paramount to Journalism's Future

Professor Geneva Overholser, a renowned academician and journalist, guest lectured at the University of Memphis in March 2014. She ignited an enlightening conversation around the evolution of reporting, consuming, and disseminating news. The following were audience reactions via #NormBrewer.


  1. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell opened the 2014 Norm Brewer First Amendment Lecture. (An elected official who espoused the importance of transparency!)
  2. Then, Overholser took to the stage and shared some discerning insights.
  3. Overholser provided a clear analogy to rating the amount of opinion that seeps throughout journalism. One end of the spectrum is "rant," while the other is "context."
  4. Overholser affirmed that context is key because people have myriad options to receive information from news sites and blogs. If the reader doesn't understand the complexities of an issue or struggles to find information about a topic, we're not doing our due diligence as storytellers.
  5. Those who can shrewdly provide context to a story will stand out in the next era of journalism and news. 
  6. Overholser is not the only one who feels this way. She also mentioned other academics or journalists that have shared wise insights such as Jeff Jarvis, Ezra Klein, Jay Rosen, and Clay Shirky. (Now where have I heard their names before?)
  7. Aha! I'm also familiar with their work thanks to Dr. Carrie Brown, a protégé of Overholser.
  8. Prof. Geneva Overholser now follows me as a result of this exchange. (How cool is that?!) #BOSS