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Republic of Blues

政治经济与传播观察

 
 
 

日志

 
 

MPI Multimedia & Design Conference in St. Louis  

2008-04-14 22:00:06|  分类: 媒介与传播 Mediu |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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The “Multimedia Conference” held by the Mid-American Press Institute (MPI) in St. Louis started on Friday night and ended on Sunday morning. It was the first time in my journalism career that I had such opportunity to observe journalists’ reaction to internet’s threat. Mike Maness, vice president of the Gannett Co. Inc., provided audience a brief image of the newsrooms’ changes caused by internet and described it as the “truly disruption.” Fortunately, he also gave some strategies to deal with the challenge and added the newspapers still had advantage to take on the road of changing, which made us felt a little better.

 

On Saturday morning, Kurt Greenbaum, St. Louis Post-dispatch’ Online News Director, and Scot Sines, who supervises the day-to-day operations for the Commercial Appeal of Memphis, introduced how their newsrooms tried to incorporate social media and new online technologies into traditional jobs.

 

Saturday was a long day for five speakers had given us totally six-hour presentations! Besides Kurt and Scot, Sara Cunningham, early morning general assignment reporter for The Courier-Journal, told her story of being a journalist responsible for taking notes, pictures and videos at the same time. Matt Thompson of Star Tribune in Minneapolis introduced 10 principles of how to prepare the big feature projects. And finally Jen Friedberg of the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth shared her experiences of how to make the transition from print photographer to multimedia story teller.

I remembered that in the last meeting in DC during which mentors and fellows discussing the program goals, almost all mentors mentioned that in the past few years, more and more reporters are asked to take pictures or videos in the interview. Only after hearing the last part of the conference, which was presented by John Mura of The Courier-Journal, you can understand why the reporters had to do that and what might happen to other reports in the near future: John oversaw his paper’s web operation and in my opinion, here is the key sentence: “Our No.1 job is to produce page views (because) … page views equals renevue.”

 

Someone said that newspaper might “die” sometime in the future but I had believed journalists will survive because people after all need somebody to tell them stories. Nevertheless, after the conference, I am thinking of adjusting my earlier conclusion, maybe partly.

Firstly, new internet technology is creating so many new ways of finding news ideas, doing interviews, writing stories; there have been such great space for online editors to re-create newspapers’ productions. The ways of being an U.S. journalist are undoubtedly changing and some old forms are dying.

Secondly, audiences’ demand are changing, which will also attribute to the great change of a journalist’ daily job. Participating in the process of producing newspaper/websites is becoming readers’ real desire and newsrooms are also trying to abstract those passionate readers, by using online methods. Though telling stories has been journalist’s maybe only one task for hundreds of years, the era of conversation between newsrooms and audiences is coming.

But, (yes, there is always a “but” when discussing the future trends for we need to have enough conditions to support the assumption), I think maybe only the journalists in the countries such as United States will have to suffer from such transformation because all the changes in newsrooms still based on hardware, the efficiency of connecting to internet. Some of our speekers tried to show online videos they prepared for the conference, but for some internet connection problems they failed: The videos could not be played continuously.

My favor communication master McLuhan had said that “the medium is the message”, which means medium, or technology itself, is the determinant in communication. For the countries cannot provide enough internet connection speed, or even have no enough computers and cable for the public, the changes in newsrooms are still far away.

 

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