Here’s a newsflash you don’t stumble across much these days: Old-school media isn’t going the way of hoop skirts, gas lamps and horse-drawn carriages anytime soon.
In fact, it’s poised to thrive in our ever-engulfing digital age.
So say media gurus from both sides of the equation who spoke today in Manhattan at “Don’t Write Them Off: Television, Newspapers, Magazines, Radio Reinvented,” an Algonquin 3.0 conference hosted by Kaplow Communications President Liz Kaplow.
On the panel at the event (which was streamed live on BlogTalkRadio and Ustream.tv) were Jean Chatzky, financial editor for NBC’s Today show and a columnist for New York’s Daily News; Lincoln Millstein, Hearst Newspapers’ senior vice president for digital media; Lesley Jane Seymour, editor-in-chief of More magazine, Sree Sreenivasan, new media professor at Columbia Journalism School and host of BlogTalkRadio’s SAJA; and BlogTalkRadio CEO Alan Levy.
Following are highlights from the panelists.
“Journalists need to understand that one platform is not enough anymore. And if you’re not only going to succeed but support yourself, there are very few people who can be [The Da Vinci Code author] Dan Brown and just write books, or can limit themselves to one medium. They have to learn how to go on the radio and go on television and use all of these other tools to that they can continue to grow their brand and grow their expertise. As for television, I think the stations themselves are trying to reinvent themselves the same way journalists are. Every show is no longer a freestanding entity. It has to be much more than that to get that feedback from the viewers and the listeners, and incorporate it into the programming for the next day.”
“We’re in a very similar situation that IBM was in the early ’90s. IBM was a one-trick pony that sold mainframe computers. They had a sales staff that only knew how to sell mainframe computers. Then [CEO] Lou Gerstner came in and inherited this beast. And he looked around at the computer landscape and saw all these companies—Wang, Digital, Prime—and they all disappeared. But IBM was able to transition that huge goliath into a company that is full of frigates and destroyers. We’re making that same transition…Disruptive media is an opportunity for us because we’re having to understand our changing audiences, adapting to those changing audiences and actually see those audiences as an opportunity, rather than something to fear.”
Lesley Jane Seymour
“I teach journalism at [New York University], and two years ago my kids came in and said, ‘I’m on the web all day long, and when I come home at night, I want to hold something in my hand when I get into my bed. I don’t want to take my computer with me.’ That revived my interested in—and my hope for—an industry that I started off in eons ago. I believe that journalism is not going out of style; it’s not going anywhere; there’s always going to be a need for a voice of reason, of expertise out there, no matter which way it’s delivered. We all have to get used to the idea of being platform-agnostic.”
“My thesis from the beginning was, Why can’t we have many people—thousands and thousands of contributors and participants—who are talking about things that are important to them and building communities. That concept of empowerment is really what the web and social media is about. Audiences are no longer sitting in front of the TV or reading the paper or listening to the radio. They’re everywhere. They’re on Facebook, they’re on Twitter, they’re in Ning. So content has to be everywhere.”
“What’s going to happen to journalism is that we are going to not be adversarial with all these tools out there, all these services out there and all these people out there who have things to contribute. But, we’re going to work together and say to our audience, Help us tell these stories better. Often, what we know is only part of the story. With all due respect to Walter Cronkite, his famous line every night—”That’s the way it is”—wasn’t true. When he said that, here’s what he was basically saying: This is what we could fit into a 22-minute newscast, with three people being sick, the satellite truck not working; this is what we got. And if people were upset, they would turn to their spouse or they’d throw something at the TV. Now, when Brian Williams ends his newscast, the conversation is just starting. It’s not ending.”
To hear the full conference, click here.