Dave is national president of the Society of Professional Journalists and was in town for the local chapter’s annual Golden Press Card Awards on Friday night.
At lunch at the Riverside Tavern with SPJ stalwarts Georgiana Vines, Jean Ash, Lisa Hood Skiner, Bonnie Hufford and Mark Harmon, he gave me some credit for his current involvement in SPJ.
I got him to be on a panel at the SPJ national convention in Nashville way back in 1994. Course he agreed long before I let him in on the very small detail that SPJ does not pay expenses for speakers and yes, the registration was not comped. Hey, I did buy lunch at a Nashville eatery not likely to be remembered in Can’t Miss Dining in Nashville!
That national convention marked the start of his current involvement in SPJ that lead to him becoming the first academic person to lead the society.
By the Nashville convention in 1994, Dave had moved to the University of Florida to teach “interactive newspaper technologies” and to start up Florida’s Interactive Media Lab. Today, his title is the James M. Cox, Jr. Foundation/The Palm Beach Post Professor of New Media Journalism and director of the lab. (Hey, Dave how do you get that title on a business card?)
He was — and remains — one of the newspaper industry’s pioneers in the online world. While at The Albuquerque Tribune, he started up and ran “The Electronic Trib,” the first newspaper BBS system. What’s a BBS? Think modems, dial up, garish CGA colors and lots of text. I remember picking his brain about project when it was going on. At that point, Web had no online meaning and Net was something you might take fishing rather than where you went phishing.
One of Dave’s many side project is maintaining a timeline of online news here. Actually, getting to see Dave again was a trip down t he personal timeline.