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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

Posted in Centennial Post, Friday, Media, RJI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

International Applications of Convergence Education

Posted by Melissa Berman on September 12, 2008

At 12:15 p.m. September 11, 2008 several attendees of the Missouri School of Journalism Centennial gathered in the Fred W. Smith Forum in the Reynolds Journalism Institute. The topic of discussion was the International applications of convergence education. Lynda Kraxberger, Convergence Journalism Faculty-Missouri School of Journalism, moderated the discussion. The discussion leaders included: Yuen-Ying Chan, Director and Professor at The University of Hong Kong and Dean of the Cheung Kong School of Journalism and Communication-Shantou University, China; Martin Hirst, Associate Professor, Curriculum Leader-Journalism Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand; Mike McKean, Director, Futures Lab, Associate Professor, Convergence Journalism-Missouri School of Journalism, Olga Missiri, Video Editor-Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute; Ernest Yuyan Zhang, China Program Coordinator, International Programs-Missouri School of Journalism.

Dr. Chan began the discussion by describing how she started her program in China. There is more difficulty in developing the program in China versus the U.S., but the University of Missouri Journalism School has been a great help. During the first year in the program in China students are taught to embrace technology and learn the basics right away.

Ernie Juang discussed the process of setting up professional programs in China. Media convergence (the fusion of innovations) is on the rise, and the Chinese see it changing in the U.S. They have asked the U.S. to share theses ideas with them and help with the intersection between websites and TV stations, websites and print, etc. Journalists are still adapting to having a 24-hour newsroom, and for some, the idea of posting on the internet. In the past, some saw posting on the internet as a chance for others to steal their work.

Martin Hirst then discussed the Auckland University of Technology, which is the biggest journalism program in New Zealand (consisting of only seventy students). He is in the process of trying to change the program there to include more technology instruction and to allow the students to have a broader education of all areas of journalism.

The problems with teaching technology and journalism are universal. There are constantly new forms of communication being used and everyone seems to be chasing them to try and teach them in their courses. The trouble also, is to teach all of these new forms of media and technology while still covering the basic principles of journalism. There is only so much that can be taught in four years.

Olga Missiri spoke about the fact that in schools in Russia and other countries in Eastern and Western Europe it takes a lot of time and effort to change curriculum and programs. Another big factor in trying to teach new technology and media is that most of Russia only has dial-up access to the internet.

Mike McKean went on to give a few definitions of convergence journalism. One definition or slogan used by the Missouri Convergence Journalism program is “Telling compelling stories no matter what it takes.”  This entails the use of any type of media outlet to convey a story. Convergence is also a team-based effort.

The discussion went on to talk about the many problems and challenges of convergence and technology education. Hirst mentioned one of the toughest steps is to be able to convince colleagues that change in the education program is needed. Chan has started a cadet program at her school, the only issue is the university hiring method. Another issue Missiri came across while teaching at Stephens College, a womens school, was that many of the women in her class are not used to being the ones in control and using all aspects of the cameras and computers. Hirst also mentioned the need to get away from the traditional classroom teaching model. He believes that the classrooom should consist of learning, not teaching.

With convergence education, the culture of journalism is changing. There are constantly new media outlets, and journalists are being asked to perform skills in several different aspects of journalism. Young journalists are beginning to come into jobs as managers over veteran journalists as a result of their ability to use new technology. Almost every newspaper now has a website with video media and other forms of journalism rather than strictly print. Another issue that arises with this change in journalism is the need for speed and accuracy. There are going to be a lot more mistakes made and less thorough stories because the newsroom is now twenty-four hours.

The discussion wrapped up with each leader giving their view of the future of journalism. Hirst believes that in twenty years we will no longer be teaching journalism, but training digital gate keeping. Instead of searching for the news, we will just be fact checking citizen journalists. Everyone will need to be taught basic journalism skills. Missiri talked about the issue of being a jack of all trades, but a master at nothing. We need to find a balance in the education and knowledge of different focuses in journalism. Zhang followed up with the idea that we need to still have a set focus in journalism education, but be able to cultivate that focus with everything else. McKean referred back to the idea that convergence journalism is team based. No one has all of the answers, but globally we can combine and learn from each other.

The discussion then ended with a short question and answer session.

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Two alumni react to Politics and Religion discussion

Posted by Daniel Everson on September 12, 2008

After the Futures Forum discussion on Politics and Religion—God in the White House, held Thursday morning at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, I spoke with two alumni, Mary McHaney Bebout and Courtney Long James, who attended the session. Below are some of their thoughts.

 

Why did you choose to come to this particular presentation?

CLJ: Probably because of my own personal faith and my interest in how it is covered in the media—and whether it’s fairly covered. Also … as a media buyer for an ad agency, I place media on Beliefnet (the web site for which panelist Dan Gilgoff serves as political editor). They’re one of my clients. So it was interesting to actually see a face and a name.

MMB: It was something my daughter really wanted to see, and I, too, am interested in how faith is covered in the media. And as a lawyer and former journalism student, I always had an interest in political news coverage. And I wanted to see what they would have to say about the election and how faith issues have played a huge role.

 

What did you think of the presentations (given by Gilgoff and Chicago Sun-Times religion columnist Cathleen Falsani)?

CLJ: I thought it was fascinating. I thought it was varied. I thought they had very interesting information for us. I thought they had good dialogue between one another, and you could tell they had a lot of respect for each other, which was interesting. They weren’t afraid to answer any questions. They were very open.

MMB: At first I was disappointed that the original panelists were not able to show. We went to school with Major Garrett (of FOX News, originally scheduled to moderate the session). So we would have liked to see him. … But I thought the coverage was excellent, very professional. … And then I learned more about this center for religious studies (the Center on Religion & the Professions), which I don’t remember even hearing about when we were in school. … So I thought that was interesting, that there are classes (about religion reporting) that students can take.

 

What about the questions and discussion portion of the seminar?

CLJ: I thought that people asked some amazing questions. I thought it was very interesting in this discussion on religion and politics and faith that someone would ask a question that was so obviously very biased. It was full of hate, the way she said, “How could creationism be taught in the 21st Century?” I thought that was amazing.

MMB: I thought one of the best questions was from a student (Laura Kebede), the one about the Rick Warren forum. I thought it was fabulous. I thought it was terrific, and it was raised not by some alum or a person in the media, but a student. And I thought that was the best question that was asked.

CLJ: I agree, that was a great question, very timely. I probably could’ve sat in there for another hour. I found it to be that interesting. Obviously, as they mentioned, by the size of the people that were in the room—that it was standing room only—it was something that a lot of people are thinking about and are interested in learning more about.

MMB: Not only that, I think we’re now going to change our schedule and go to the next session that has to talk about faith.

 

If there are one or two things that you take away from this discussion and the presentations, what would that be?

CLJ: Mine would be that, as a person of faith, I felt that they were very good at reminding me how important it is to be open and understanding of other people’s faith and to not immediately jump to conclusions and labels. I felt it was a very good reminder to be respectful of other people’s faith, whether it’s something you believe in or not. It’s important to hear what people have to say. You don’t have to necessarily agree with them, but that’s part of what’s great about this country is that we have the opportunity to speak of our faith and our religion freely.

MMB: There are three things that hit me. First was the comment that was made (by Gilgoff) that American elections are now won or lost on character. I thought that was a very good point. The second thing that I thought was interesting was, now, our culture has changed or our society’s expectation has changed to the extent that you can no longer take the old-line view and say, “My faith is personal and I want to keep it quiet.” Now, really it’s a requirement, I think, based on what I heard today, for all candidates to be out there, very transparent and open about what they believe. And then they’re judged by the American public about their beliefs. I thought that was an interesting shift. … Then the third thing that I thought was fascinating is that it sounds like faith coverage is going to be most accessible on the Web. I haven’t ever blogged on Beliefnet, but now I probably will.

CLJ: I would be interested to ask (Gilgoff) a question: did any of the faith issues … become so important when we all walked through the Clinton era, where this man was obviously a churchgoer with his wife? … But yet the whole character issue came up as, “Wait a minute, who is this man really? What does he really believe in?” And I just wonder how that played into, all of a sudden, people talking about faith, what’s real and what isn’t, what is really personal, and the whole character issue. … Actually, as an evangelical, I have voted all over the spectrum, because I look at character more than I look at just specific religious preferences.

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VIDEO: Politics and Religion—God in the White House

Posted by Daniel Everson on September 11, 2008

Guest panelists Dan Gilgoff (of Beliefnet.com) and Cathleen Falsani (of the Chicago Sun-Times) spoke at the discussion titled “Politics and Religion—God in the White House,” part of Thursday’s Futures Forum. The discussion, held in room 100-A of the new Reynolds Journalism Institute, was co-sponsored by the Center on Religion & the Professions (CORP) and the Religion Newswriters Association (RNA). Debra Mason, director of CORP and executive director of RNA, introduced the panelists and the topic before Gilgoff and Falsani presented. Following their speeches, Mason moderated a question-and-answer session that covered topics such as the role of faith in Gov. Sarah Palin’s nomination for vice-president, the Rick Warren forum, and the future of religion reporting. Below are video clips from the beginning of the discussion.

 

The first clip gives a panoramic view of room 100-A, with only standing room available minutes ahead of the discussion. During the Q&A session, one attendee suggested that the full seminar room signified Americans’ strong interest in the role of faith in politics.

 

In the second video, Mason discusses CORP, RNA, and the rationale of holding a discussion on politics and religion.

 

In the next clip, Mason delivers a brief history of American reporting on politics and religion, dating back to President Jimmy Carter’s announcement in 1976 that he was a born-again Christian.

 

Here Mason introduces the two guests and briefly discusses their writings. Gilgoff and Falsani stepped in for the three scheduled panelists (Major Garrett of FOX News, Sally Quinn of the Washington Post, and Steve Waldman of Beliefnet.com), none of whom were able to make it to the Centennial celebration.

 

Lastly, in this clip Gilgoff presents his Beliefnet.com blog, the God-o-Meter, which aims to measure Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain’s religious outreach successes and failures on the campaign trail.

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