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Change and Response: Media Convergence and Benedict College experience

Change and Response: Media Convergence and Benedict College experience



My panel presentation at the SC Media Educators Association Conference in October 2012.

My panel presentation at the SC Media Educators Association Conference in October 2012.



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  • Consider a clip from the Nightly News site covering a fire at the Monte Carlo casino in Las Vegas. A 40-second Brian Williams toss leads to a brief live shot and a 1:25 package from correspondent John Larson. In Web time, it seems to take forever to get the basic information – a scary fire, but no one hurt. The Larson report has strong elements – aerials of the blaze, eyewitness accounts of the evacuation – but we must sit through the entire piece to see them. We lose control. Now consider this page from CNN.com. We get text, stills, video clips and a satellite map all integrated on the same page. We get the details immediately and – as we scan the text – we can quickly access a photo slide show and brief video clips. (My favorite video tease on this page: “Watch the fire.” We know what our users want – Let’s see those flames!)
  • It’s not Google’s fault: Score one for newspapers. I haven’t heard anyone complain about Google in a while now, modest proposals excepted. If anything, there’s a healthy increase in asking “What Would Google Do?“ It’s not Craig’s fault: It’s a mixed bag, here. While there seems to be a lot less moaning and groaning about how craigslist took the air out of the newspaper balloon, reinventing classifieds is still a laborious and slow process, as the news business tends to depend on third-party vendors for a great deal of the vertical business. All of it needs to be more innovative, and it needs to be done yesterday. Your major metro newspaper could probably use some staff cuts: Yeah, that’s never a popular option, but this particular list-item is about putting local news out front and dropping everything else that could be covered with wire copy or blogs. Unfortunately, the buyouts-first, layoffs-second method means that your best talent has a tendency to walk out the door instead of the TV columnist. It’s time to stop handwringing and start training: Kind of a mixed bag, but there are lots of places to get started learning what’s next. Try Wired Journalists to find a mentor, or NewsU for great tutorials on everything from strategy to writing tips. There’s a ton of resources out there for multimedia, too — feel free to throw a link in the comment thread to point out your favorite venue for learning and teaching. You don’t get to charge people for the olds or the news: Most everyone is over this. Paywalls cut readers off from the Long Tail of local news. Don’t put them up. Reporters need to do more than write: I think we’ve come a long way since last year, with journalists getting heavily involved in Twitter and Qik and Mogulus and Beatblogging and generally reporting on whatever platform is made available to them. Having a curious mind is the first step to this; if you’re a reporter without curiosity, you might want to think about another line of work. (Agreed?) Bloggers aren’t an uneducated lynch mob unconcerned by facts: There’s still a lot of confusion out there. What’s a blog? is still a question in some corners. I try to get journalists to forget about political bloggers by saying blogs are for everything from Nascar to Knitting. If you have someone in your newsroom who leans over every five minutes and says “Dude, check this out” while pointing at a YouTube video or a press release, you have a blogger on your hands. You ignore new delivery systems at your own peril: Hmm, does your news site have an iPhone version yet? Man, I wish it did, because I stare at mine all the time, and the sites that look good on it? I bookmark those and spend more time there, hanging out with your brand while I’m waiting in line for the office microwave or sitting at Gate C23 at O’Hare waiting hours and hours for the weather to clear. Oh, and new, faster, cheaper iPhones are expected to drop next week, which should push the adoption curve significantly higher. J-Schools need to lead or fade away: My favorite thing going on in j-schools right now is the Knight News Challenge-funded scholarship for programmers at Northwestern. The glass is half-full: To be clear, long-term, I think the future of news is bright. Just not on paper. The sooner you understand the difference between “putting your newspaper online” and “online news,” the better.  Inserted from Now the recession-ravaged newspaper and magazine industries are hoping for their own knight in shining digital armor, in the form of portable reading devices with big screens.Unlike tiny mobile phones and devices like the Kindle that are made to display text from books, these new gadgets, with screens roughly the size of a standard sheet of paper, could present much of the editorial and advertising content of traditional periodicals in generally the same format as they appear in print. And they might be a way to get readers to pay for those periodicals — something they have been reluctant to do on the Web.Such e-reading devices are due in the next year from a range of companies, including the News Corporation, the magazine publisher Hearst and Plastic Logic, a well-financed start-up company that expects to start making digital newspaper readers by the end of the year at a plant in Dresden, Germany.But it is Amazon, maker of the Kindle, that appears to be first in line to try throwing an electronic life preserver to old-media companies. As early as this week, according to people briefed on the online retailer’s plans, Amazon will introduce a larger version of its Kindle wireless device tailored for displaying newspapers, magazines and perhaps textbooks.An Amazon spokesman would not comment, but some news organizations, including The New York Times, are expected to be involved in the introduction of the device, according to people briefed on the plans. A spokeswoman for The Times, Catherine J. Mathis, said she could not comment on the company’s relationship with Amazon.These devices from Amazon and other manufacturers offer an almost irresistible proposition to newspaper and magazine industries. They would allow publishers to save millions on the cost of printing and distributing their publications, at precisely a time when their businesses are under historic levels of pressure.“We are looking at this with a great deal of interest,” said John Ridding, the chief executive of the 121-year-old, salmon-colored British newspaper The Financial Times. “The severe double whammy of the recession and the structural shift to the Internet has created an urgency that has rightly focused attention on these devices.”Perhaps most appealing about this new class of reading gadgets is the opportunity they offer publishers to rethink their strategy in a rapidly evolving digital world. The move by newspapers and magazines to make their material freely available on the Web is now viewed by many as a critical blunder that encouraged readers to stop paying for the print versions. And publishers have found that they were not prepared to deal with the recent rapid decline of print advertising revenue. Publishers could possibly use these new mobile reading devices to hit the reset button and return in some form to their original business model: selling subscriptions, and supporting their articles with ads. The current version of the Kindle has proved in a limited way that this is possible. Even though its six-inch black-and-white screen is made for reading books, Amazon offers Kindle owners subscriptions to more than 58 newspapers and magazines, including The Times, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal. (The Journal subscription costs $9.99 a month, The Times is $13.99 a month and The New Yorker is $2.99 a month.)Subscribers get updates once a day over a cellular network. Amazon and other participating publishers say they are satisfied with the results, although they have not released data on the number of subscriptions that have been sold.For the all the hope publishers are placing in dedicated electronic reading devices, they will be encumbered at the start with some serious shortcomings. Most use display technology from E Ink, a company in Cambridge, Mass., that was founded in 1997 based on research started at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology M.I.T. Media Lab to develop thin electronic displays capable of mimicking the readability of regular paper, while using a minimum amount of battery power. The screens, which are currently in the Kindle and Sony Reader, display no color or video and update images at a slower rate than traditional computer screens. That has some people in the magazine industry, in particular, keeping their hopes in check until E Ink evolves.“I don’t think we would be anywhere near as excited about anything in black and white as we would about high-definition color,” said Tom Wallace, the editorial director of Condé Nast, publisher of glossy magazines like Vogue and Wired. “But technology changes at a pretty high clip these days, and if we are now in the Farmer Gray days, it will be only a very short while until we are in the video game era.”Another hitch is that some makers of reading devices, like Amazon, want to set their own subscription prices for publications and control the relationship with the subscriber — something media companies like Condé Nast object to. Plastic Logic and Hearst have said publicly that they will take a more open approach and let media companies deal directly with readers and set their own prices.Then there is the looming presence of Apple, which seems likely to introduce a multipurpose tablet computer later this year, according to rumor and speculation by Apple observers. Such a device, with a screen that is said to be about three or four times as large as the iPhone’s, would have an LCD screen capable of showing rich color and video, and people could use it to browse the Web.Even if such a device has limited battery life and strains readers’ eyes, for many buyers it could be a more appealing alternative to devices dedicated to reading books, newspapers and magazines. Such a Web-connected tablet would also pose a problem for any print publications that hope to try charging for content that is tailored for mobile devices, since users could just visit their free sites on the Internet. One way to counter this might be to borrow from the cellphone model and offer specialized reading devices free or at a discount to people who commit to, say, a one-year subscription.Then there is the possibility that all these devices from Amazon, Apple and the rest have simply not appeared in time to save many players in the troubled realm of print media. “If these devices had been ready for the general consumer market five years ago, we probably could have taken advantage of them quickly,” said Roger Fidler, the program director for digital publishing at the University of Missouri, Columbia. “Now the earliest we might see large-scale consumer adoption is next year, and unlike the iPod it’s going to be a slower process migrating people from print to the device.”“And all of us are very worried about how newspapers are going to survive in the next few years if we don’t see any turnaround in the economy,” Mr. Fidler said.Whether or not the situation is hopeless, newspapers and magazines now find themselves weighing offers of aid from outsiders. When asked at the debut of the Kindle 2 in February whether the Kindle could help the print media, Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, said he thought there were “genuine opportunities” to save journalism.“And we’re excited about helping with that,” he added.
  • Talk about typology of news organizations
  • Talk about typology of news organizations
  • Talk about typology of news organizations
  • Talk about typology of news organizations
  • Talk about typology of news organizations

Change and Response: Media Convergence and Benedict College experience Change and Response: Media Convergence and Benedict College experience Presentation Transcript

  • “Disruption in journalism education — justas in the profession of journalism — is asinevitable as it is deserved. “ Jeff Jarvis
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