On October 2, a special panel discussion on the future of digital media was held at Ryerson University in conjunction with Wordstock, the Ryerson Journalism Alumni Association’s annual writing conference. The moderated debate featured an industry panel of digital media experts who shared their thoughts about the impact of digital technologies on the future of journalism.
Panelists: Adam Froman, CEO Delvinia; Abby Goodrum, the Velma Rogers Graham Research Chair, Ryerson School of Journalism; Marissa Nelson, senior editor, Digital News, Toronto Star; Chris Nguyen, co-founder of teamsave.com, Ryerson Digital Media Zone.
Below are some key themes and topics that were touched on during the one-hour session.
Digital media has altered the nature of storytelling: Content will always be there but how we deliver it is changing rapidly. Digital customers are able to interact and engage with reporters like never before. Online commenting and share tools give readers the power to not only change existing stories, but broadcast their own. Journalists must recognize these newly empowered media consumers.
Newspaper readership is stable: Readers continue to seek out traditional media for news and information. Mobile and online content is growing but print is still the bread and butter of your brand.
No technology exists in a neutral zone: Technology is consumed culturally, socially and economically. Digital technologies are not inherently positive or negative; the value of these new tools is in how we engage with them. Understanding new media technologies, how they will be used and their impact on society will require multidisciplinary research.
There are different expectations for digital media: Real-time audiences are willing to accept that instantaneous forms of communication (twitter, live blogging) are less accurate/reliable than traditional media.
Don’t just implement, optimize: Companies should embrace new technologies and platforms but not without understanding how to do it. It is not enough to simply set up a social networking account; your newspaper must create a social media policy in order to protect journalists and the brand.