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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 »

Media Ethics

Posted by Dak Dillon on September 11, 2008

         People started filing in to the media ethics session, which consisted of a short scene from “The Front Page”, nearly 15 minutes before it started. Although the event started out with a modest crowd of four, by the time it got going, the audience had swelled to about 30 people. Though the wooden folding chairs were set up in four rings, all of the audience members sat on the side closer to the door so that the actors could feel like they were on a stage instead of in a round. There was a brief panic before the panel began when an actor, the former chair of the theater department, could not be located, but he turned up right at nine. Before the three actors began their scene, Lee Wilkins, one of the moderators of the event, introduced Jay Black, the other moderator, who she described as “failing at retirement.” Black first asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of 9/11 and then gave a brief intro to “The Front Page,”a play that was first produced in 1928. The actors then came out to give the setup for the scene they were about to perform. An anarchist, Earl Williams, who is sentenced to hang the next day for killing a police officer, breaks out of jail and is found by reporter Hildy Johnson. Hildy hides Earl in a desk and calls his editor. In the scene, Hildy is torn between his fiancée Peggy (who he was supposed to go to New York with) and his editor, who pushes him to write the story.

            After finishing their scene, the actors departed and the session turned into a seminar (described by Black as “where you guys do all the thinking and the professor acts sagacious”) that could have been a Principles class. The first question posed was what exactly news is. The answers included:

·      “News is what makes the boss happy”

·      “News is what sells newspapers”

·      Historically, “news has been that which is out of the ordinary…war and crime will always be news”


Talk quickly turned to the state of newspapers today in the face of new media like blogs. The prevalence of rumors being taken from blogs and placed as fact in news stories was lamented, as was the free reign that is given to people in the comments sections of online media. Many of the journalists in attendance were obviously frustrated by the perceived lack of concern for accuracy by the current media and people’s apparent decreasing amount of concern for that accuracy. Wilkins asked, “What do you do…when people don’t want to be convinced by facts anymore?”

Black then took over again to discuss the importance of having a process as a journalist and how vital it is to “transcend a gut reaction” when making decisions about stories. He said that “the experienced editors make decisions faster…but…can justify them better than the inexperienced ones.”

He also posed the following questions that journalists should ask themselves:

·      What’s your problem?

·      Is it bigger than the rules?

·      Who wins, who loses?

·      What’s it worth?

·      Who’s whispering in your ear?

·      How will it look on facebook, myspace, or youtube?

Despite all the problems facing journalists today—those in print especially Wilkins ended the session on an optimistic note. “(Right now,) I am unwilling…to give up in despair…I am not willing to give up and throw in the towel…”she said.

Story by Stacey Schutzman, Photos by Dak Dillon, view more pictures here

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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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Ethics in Advertising

Posted by Daniel Maxson on September 11, 2008

Today I sat in on one of the defining moments of my life and career. Some of the greatest minds in marketing, advertising, and public relations spoke at a discussion of ethics in their industry.

On the panel we had five great leaders in the industry.

William C. Price, Chairman and CEO of Empower MediaMarketing, opened the discussion, introducing the guests and moderating the discussion.

Wallace Snyder, the President of the American Advertising Federation, spoke on the definition of advertising ethics.

Robert Wehling, retired Global Marketing and Government Relations Officer for Proctor & Gamble, spoke on the effect of reputation on marketing and asked some provocative questions for consideration, including, “If you feel something is wrong, but no one is adversely affected, it is okay?”

He also outlined the three tiers of ethics, all of which are important to solid marketing: Personal Ethics, Advertising Ethics, and Corporate Ethics.

Linda Eatherton, Partner and Director of Ketchum, introduced us to the “Age of Egonomics,” where people actually pay more for a product that they believe is ethically better than the competition. This is based on the “Triple Bottom Line” of “People, Planet, and Profit.”

Allison Price Arden, Publisher of Advertising Age, showed us some statistics, including the fact that 27% more people are more likely to switch brands for a cause they believe in since 9/11.

During the discussion, the panel discussed how ethics vary among different age groups as well as across cultural borders, and raised the question of how advertising agencies should handle it.

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Institutional Rumblings and Modernization

Posted by Tina Casagrand on September 10, 2008

by Kristina Casagrand and Chad Hesson

When Chad Hesson and I met before the event at 1:15, in our dress shirts and jeans, YouTube pins tacked to our messenger bags, we struck an appropriate image of freshmen trying to act experienced.  We arrived early, we looked sharp, but we sat at the back of the room, not daring to take a place at the fancy tables with the alumni. We’re the bloggers.  They’re the professionals.

The question of professionalism permeated the Institutional Rumblings and Modernization roundtable.  A board of distinguished MU grads and professors, who were obviously bribed into writing a book, discussed their contributions to Journalism—1908: Birth of a Profession.

Bill Taft, an ornery elderly man of the distinguished age of 93, composed a chapter of the book detailing the history of newspapers up to 1908. He adequately described them as country newspapers and rural publications, simply because those were the communities before that time. The outlook towards journalism must have been along the lines of  “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but surely a more archaic phrase.  He claimed that on the edges of the 20th century, the idea was to simply change the demographics and not the wording.

Next we heard about Stephen Banning’s research (part of which he attributed to resources in Taft’s basement) on the influence of press associations in 1908.  In particular, the Missouri Press Association formed in 1867 to bring about unity in the field.  At the time, there were too many puff pieces, too many untrained editors.  And journalism, noted Banning, is “too noble of a calling to be left untrained.”

Lee Wilkins then “teased out the philosophical roots” of founding the journalism school, noting that journalists should be loyal to the public, only to be cancelled out by Fred Blevens’ talk of political and partisan press in 1908.  He described how some newspapers boasted how much control they had over public policy, and how newspapermen were hired to run campaigns, ending his thought with “and Olbermann and Matthews got the axe?”

Advertising in 1908 had yet to blossom into its current artistic force it is now, and Caryl Cooper’s enthusiasm for the subject mirrors the lack of inspiration educators felt for the field at the time.

During the question-and-answer session an alumnus argued that journalism is not a profession, saying it’s “not the same thing as what you have institutionalized in medicine and law.”  Betty Winfield countered, citing Walter Williams’ creed as proof of the profession.

Yet with technology and blogs rising as a form of communication it’s becoming harder to define journalism and professionalism.  One of the panel speakers pointed out that in the 1700’s, newspapers carried more analytic and critical essay writing.  Journalists have been working with the information collection model that has served us very well for 100 years, he said, and now we have a chance to examine that model.  He also added:

“We are people of moral worth beyond the money that we earn.  We count in a way that’s rooted in ethics and morals.  We need to recover OUR part of that conversation.”

Do bloggers reflect the new model, a return to the critical/analytic side of the pendulum?  We may not be professionals (yet), but as bloggers, we’re definitely the future.

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