We hear this time and time again and it’s obvious with every log into the computer. Or are you even logging onto your computer these days or solely using your iPhone? Kindle? Or maybe even iPad?
The WE Media Conference arrived on my campus for the third year in a row this week, bringing in media innovators from around the country to discuss the current affairs of the industry. Although not a registered participant, as students we’re allowed to pop in at conference events and I took advantage of this.
The first man I listened to speak was Michael Wolff, founder of Newser and former Vanity Fair columnist. I had never heard of Newser before, but after my curiosity was sparked by him, I decided to see what it’s all about and it instantly became my new homepage. What the website does is aggregate a bunch of different news sources, condenses the articles, and puts it in a grid form so you can see everything that’s going on. Once you register, you can customize your preferences so that you only get news stories that interest you, can mark the ones you’ve already read, and really customize the experience to fit your needs! He also brought up The Daily Beast which is very similar and something I’m definitely going to explore.
Wolff stressed the death of print media saying that, “It’s time, it’s consequence has passed.” He took it one step further saying “Newspapers should die, they have no reason to exist.” Harsh much? Maybe, but it’s reality.
His views were reiterated in the next session I attended featuring the CEO of the Associated Press, Tom Curley, and the CEO of the Knight Foundation, Alberto Ibarguen. According to Curley, U.S. newspapers will be less than 20 percent of the AP’s revenue this next year. That means that entities like broadcast news are investing more money as newspapers fizzle away.
My favorite speaker, and ironically the briefest, was Juliette Powell, a social media entrepreneur and author of 33 Million People in the Room. A master of all things social media, she stressed that “those who are able to master social media, are those that will be able to win because you can communicate with everyone.” Her book sounds like a fascinating tool to find out how to generate social capital through things like Facebook and Twitter. Her takeaway message definitely drove home the importance of adding value to people’s lives to impact society at large. Once you know what you can do for other people, then you can truly make an impact.
Hearing media professionals like these very successful people talk always motivates me to do and discover more. With aspirations to soon work among all of those sitting around me, it is difficult to not get a little anxious to graduate and start experiencing what they get to each and every day. But while I am still restricted to the confines of the classroom, I will continue to do all that I can because, as Wolff noted this week, “the speed of change is great, you survive by staying on top of it.”