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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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Thursday Morning

Posted by Allan James Vestal on September 11, 2008

Wow, three and a half hours have really flown by! I started out today poking around the new buildings. I’ve probably been in the new complex every other day since late August, but it still fascinates and excites me to be here. Started off looking at the lab in the basement, where reps from Current were set up. Saw an amazing 20-minute investigative feature on neo-Nazis in Russia (titled “From Russia with Hate,” video online here, as well as submitted stories from around the world. Not to mention, of course, that I got a fair bit of Current ‘swag’ for registering…

Next was a showcase for Wallowr, a web application that ties together member updates from social sites like YouTube and Digg into a single, manageable destination. The service was created last year by four Mizzou students as a part of a development contest for the then-unreleased Adobe Air frameworks. During their presentation, the students expressed a sentiment I had been feeling for a time: that the opportunities afforded to students here at Mizzou (in the Air contest as well as the upcoming iPhone App Competition and others) are incredible, and largely unmatched anywhere else.

More later on the Newspaper Next 2.0 session. But for now, my next session is starting! Check the Centennial Twitter page for the most recent updates from the J-School! Bye for now!

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Newspaper Next 2.0

Posted by Allan James Vestal on September 11, 2008

This session was apparently adapted from a conference presentation to newspaper veterans. Which made it interesting, but talk of profit margins and ad sellers’ profitability went a bit over the head of this J-school freshman. The speaker talked largely about the evolving role of newspapers as informational hubs for communities, and about new ways for papers to leverage the Internet to make money.

I plan to post some of the interesting case studies from this session. Back with more later, check Twitter in the meantime!

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Alumni unite!

Posted by Jen Lee Reeves on September 10, 2008

Our YouTube channel is starting to gather some really cool perspectives from alumni. This is one of the lessons learned from Susan Davidson who stopped by the YouTube stations:

While we’re capturing these stories, there’s been some really interesting conversations on Twitter. If you would like to look in, check out the tweets marked with our hashtag #mizzou. There have been some really interesting revelations about the Columbia Missourian and its future.

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