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Best of the President’s Roundtable

Posted by Daniel Everson on September 13, 2008

Technology, communication, and journalism industry leaders convened in Jesse Auditorium Friday afternoon to discuss the futures of technology and journalism. The session, officially titled “Communication for a Digital Globe,” was taped by KETC/Channel 9 of St. Louis for future broadcast. University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee hosted the roundtable, and Russ Mitchell, BJ ’82, of CBS News moderated the discussion. The seven panelists were

  • Carol Loomis, Senior Editor at Large, Fortune;
  • Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO, AT&T Mobility;
  • Sue Bostrom, Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, Cisco;
  • David Dorman, Chairman of the Board, Motorola, Inc.;
  • Mark Hoffman, President, CNBC;
  • Amy McCombs, President and CEO, Women’s Foundation of California;
  • Dave Senay, President and CEO, Fleishman-Hillard.

Below are some of the best of the comments offered by these experts. (I say “some” because to capture all the great insights would be an impossible task.)


On the future of handheld wireless devices (Blackberries, iPhones, etc.):

“Devices will be more complex and yet simpler to use.” —de la Vega

“Technology evolves in step functions, not always smoothly.” —Dorman

“We have to have both the content and the devices together.” —Bostrom

“I think it’s (wireless communication) making the world smaller. It’s making the world more accessible.” —Hoffman

“If the market sees value in the new apps, they’ll survive.” —Hoffman

“If you build it, they will come, and they will find it.” —Hoffman


On the mainstream media:

“When I graduated, there was no such word as ‘convergence.'” —Mitchell

“The mainstream media have got their head out of the sand and have really started to move forward. … Look at where the elephants are dancing—and you want to make sure they’re dancing and not rushing at you. … I think we have a lot of those elephants at this table.” —McCombs

“There have been many times in history where (people said) the mainstream media would be dead. … I think none of it will die. I think all of it will change. There will be written word … on paper. There will be written word … on wireless devices.” —Hoffman

“I probably have my feet stuck in the mud of the mainstream media more than anyone else (on the panel), and I can tell you, we’re trying to slog out of it. … There’s always going to be a market for trusted information, but the question is who’s gonna pay for it.” —Loomis

“You will see our students inventing the future of journalism (at the new Reynolds Journalism Institute).” —audience member Dean Mills, dean of the Missouri School of Journalism

“Where the quality comes in is (in) the analysis, in the thorough discussion of what’s going on. … If we do let ourselves get away from that which is fundamental in journalism—and that is telling the story—we’re going to have a pretty boring society.” —Hoffman


On credibility:

“If you had to pick one thing, I think that’d be the one that you’d pick. … Credibility, which is quality, is at the center of every successful media (outlet).” —Hoffman

“Credibility, regardless of the medium you use, is important. … I think it is better … to just let the credibility sort itself out.” —de la Vega

“It’s the self-policing nature of the Internet.” —Bostrom


On citizen journalism:

“When I hear terms like ‘citizen journalist,’ it strikes me like ‘amateur physician.'” —Dorman

“I wonder if people are flocking to places of comfort, rather than places of tension, of dialogue.” —Senay

“The journalist today is engaged in a seminar and not in a one-way lecture anymore.” —McCombs

“Does it scare anyone that there are no gatekeepers? I know it scares me.” —Mitchell

“I can tell you I’ve been misquoted online as many times as I have in the traditional media.” —de la Vega

“The idea of the gatekeeper is very frightening. … The role of the journalist is really the curator, helping (the reader) to wander through the vast array (of information).” —McCombs


On future communications and interactions among people:

“It’s not about the power of physical connection, it’s about the human network.” —Bostrom

“Informing people, persuading people, and connecting people with people—that sounds like a great description of the Internet.” —Senay

“The market itself, the killer application, is still people talking to each other.” —Dorman

“I was talking to an 18-year-old who thought e-mail was passé.” —McCombs


Advice for current students in the J-school:

“Consider the mainstream media notion a pretty elastic notion.” —Senay

“This is a great time to be in school here. … Be the risk-taker and an entrepreneur.” —McCombs

“Journalism is going to be with us forever. … It’s gonna be more complicated. You’re gonna have to have all the fundamental skills. … It’s gonna get more complicated on one end, but it’s got to stay as pure as its ever been on the other.” —Hoffman

“The opportunity all of you have is to become an expert.” —Bostrom

“Don’t run away from the challenges. Inside every challenge is an opportunity.” —de la Vega


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What’s Happening at the School in Strategic Communication

Posted by Hannah Jones on September 12, 2008

As a new student to the Missouri School of Journalism, I was ecstatic to learn that I would be able to take part in the Centennial. The Centennial is a great opportunity for all journalism students, and I am very thankful to be able to participate in this wonderful event. The topic of strategic communication instantly caught my eye in class, because strategic communications is the sequence I am currently most interested in. My senior year of high school I was recommended for a Public Service Practicum class, and the class gave me insight into the public relations and advertising industry. Not long after I came to the conclusion that I would enjoy a career in either advertising or public relations. I would love to some day be able to have a career in public relations for a non-profit organization.

Stephen Kopcha, a member of the strategic communication faculty, did a great job of relaying important information to the audience, yet still making the discussion very fun and enjoyable with his added bits of humor. Of course it is always fun to make a stab or two at KU.  Stephan Kopcha began by introducing the Strategic Communications mission; “to be, and to be known as, the best”. A mission I believe to be demanding, but necessary and achievable. He proceeds to show the increase of students entering into the sequence of strategic communication; in 1988 there was a mere 175 students, and in 2008 there is 401 students. Next, the discussion turned to the curriculum and the implement of the Missouri Method. The curriculum, in short, is to develop career-oriented coursework that prepares skilled and ethical communications and create hands on learning opportunities in the tradition of the Missouri Method. Some key phrases mentioned about the curriculum, etc. where:

-“Productive on day one”

-“Real word, for real clients, for real money”

-“Solving business problems with creativity”

Stephen Kopcha also commented on the obligation to meet the needs of an expanding curriculum. Currently, the strategic communications sequence in is need of an endowed chair in international advertising, two endowed professorships, and endowed scholarships to fund international experience for strategic communication students.  The strategic communications research and proposed research were also discussed, such as the Psycho-physiological research on information and media effects (PRIME). 

Stephan Kopcha then turned the mic over to Heather Bashaw, a University of Missouri alumni who graduated this past spring. Heather Bashaw walked the audience through the process of making and Ad in this day and age. It was fascinating for me to learn about the process because I was unaware of the majority of the steps necessary to make an Ad.  I believe the returning alumni found it interesting to see how the industry and the University of Missouri Journalism School has changed. Some steps in the process of making an Ad include, the necessity to know EVERYTHING about the product, goal, target audience, creative brief, finding a higher order benefit, photoshop, etc. Heather Bashaw also did a great job of adding humor into her lecture and making it enjoyable to listen to.

Lastly, Larry Powel, Director of Mojo Ad/Creative director, and University of Missouri Journalism students informed the audience about Mojo Ad, which stands for Missouri Journalism. In 2005 Mojo Ad was created. Mojo Ad specializes in YAYA, which stands for youths and young adults (people between the ages of 18-25). Mojo Ad is a University of Missouri student run Ad agency. The students shared some of their previous experience over the past coupe of years working with Halmark and Long John Silvers. Unfortunately, only about 40 students are able to participate in Mojo Ad. Mojo Ad is very competition driven, just like the advertising industry, and offers a wide variety of positions for students. For more information about MOJO you can visit http://www.Mojo-Ad.com. 

It is hard to believe that it is only the third week of my first semester as a University of Missouri Journalism Student. I have already gained an immense amount of knowledge and experience in just a couple of days, and I cannot wait for the 4 years that lay ahead. I would also like to say thank you to everyone who made this event possible. I really appreciate the opportunity you provided for me and the other journalism students. 

Story written by Hannah Jones


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Defining the New Role for Advertising and Marketing Ethics in a Global Environment

Posted by Andrew Wamboldt on September 11, 2008

Industry leaders in advertising met today in the University of Missouri’s new Reynolds Journalism Institute to discuss media ethics in the new global environment.  This was part of the Future Forum of the Journalism School’s Centennial Dedication.

The participants in the discussion were Allison Price Arden, Linda Eatherton, William C. Price, and Wallace S. Snyder.

William C. Price was the first to speak during this discussion.  Price graduated from the Journalism School in 1963 and is currently the chairman and chief executive officer of Empower MediaMarketing.

Price said that Wallace Snyder came up with the idea for this discussion and that it was put into action thanks to Margaret Duffy, an associate professor in the Journalism School.

Wallace Snyder was the second to speak.    Snyder is the retiring president and chief executive officer of the American Advertising Federation.

Snyder said that they are currently building an advertising ethics program in the Journalism School.  He feels this is a very important program because advertising supports the entertainment industry and supports 21 million jobs in the United States.

Snyder’s central proposition is for a proactive advertising ethics program, as this is an important factor in building brand name and gaining consumer trust.  Snyder’s definition of advertising ethics is: “truthfulness, fairness, taste, and decency.”

Some of the places where advertising companies will have opportunities to show strong ethics in their advertising are in green claims, prescription drugs, children targeted ads, and gender related ads.

Next up to speak was Robert L. Wehling, a retired global marketing and government relations officer for Procter and Gamble.

Wehling was shocked at a January 2007 USA Today – Gallup poll, which asked about how much people trust people in certain professions.  Teachers and nurses were at the top at over 80%.  Those in the advertising industry were at the bottom with used cars salesmen.

He was shocked by this poll, as this is not representative of the people he had met in this industry.  He also was dismissive of the premise that those in the advertising industry can’t be trusted, because he feels that you have to be ethical and honest in order to sell a product long-term.  He thinks it is just a few bad cases ruining the good name of those in the advertising industry.

There are three aspects to advertising ethics according to Wehling.  These are: 1. Corporate Ethics  2.  Advertising ethics within a company  3.  Personal Ethics.

Wehling offered the advice to students to always ask for a written statement of the company’s ethics before taking a job at that company.  At Procter and Gamble, they limited what programs their ads could appear on.  They would not let their ads air on anything that was based on gratuitous sexual or violent behavior or disparaging to certain genders or races.

Wehling feels that what individuals do when no one is looking is the most important aspect to advertising ethics.

Wehling asked a series of questions.  Here are the questions he posed to the audience:

  • If you feel something you’re about to do is wrong, but it will not affect anyone, do you do it?
  • Does a good end justify a bad means?
  • Is it better to be truthful if it hurts or be dishonest if it helps?
  • Should politicians be held to a different ethical standard than the rest of us?
  • If drugs are legal in another country, is it okay to advertise the use of those drugs?
  • Should you use bribery if it is part of that country’s business practices?
  • Is it okay to show smoking ads in Asia?
  • Is it okay to advertise a truthful product advantage if the consume can’t see it?

Wehling says that in a world with absolute ethics and relative ethics, one thing you can always hang your hat on is doing what you truly feel is right.

The next speaker was Linda Eatherton, who is a partner and director for Ketchum.  Eatherton graduated from the Journalism School in 1972.

Eatherton stated that ethical decisions happen everyday in every meeting.  She feels that consumers want products that are not only quality, but also help the world.

Some of the main things on CEO’s minds, according to Eatherton, are: the web 2.0 revolution, globalization, corporate social responsibility, accountability, transparency, and the private sector intersecting with the public sector.

The last speaker of the morning was Allison Arden Price, the vice president and publisher of Advertising Age and Creativity.

She feels that the world still sees advertising as in Mad Men.  She went on to show a clip from Mad Men, which exemplified how people see advertising as being unethical.

She thinks that advertising companies have helped make the world a better place.  One example of this is with the Tap Project.  It was a project created in unison with Unicef to help increase the amount of the world’s clean drinking water by 50% by 2015.

As pointed out by Eatherton, there has been a massive shift in how important the company’s ethics are since 9/11.  Before 9/11, only 54% of consumers would be likely to switch brands if it meant supporting a cause.  After 9/11, 81% of consumers would be likely to switch brands in order to support a cause.

As stated by Wallace Snyder, advertising ethics is not an oxymoron.

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