We Media conference (II)

>> Second discussion at the We Media conference in New York.

Farai Chideya (had a career in all media, from newsmagazines to television to radio. Now she works in LA for NPR): I finally feel that there is some convergence — to use a word that is totally dead. There is no real separation between the media at this point. I’m always going to take photos and upload them onto NPR’s Web site. There isn’t going to be any sylo-media. I’m trying to figure out how to best serve my audiences. How do you grow without losing our core competency?

(There is a slide show of pictures and video shot by citizens; including a video of the tsunami striking South East Asia)

Larry Kramer (CBS): The entire CBS news operation works for the Web site. We created Public Eye, a blog. The concept behind what we’re doing is treating news more like a loop. Stories don’t end when they’re printed or broadcast. People can respond more than ever today. We wanted to let people respond to what we’re doing. Conversation with the general public creates a more relevant newscast. We still don’t take someone’s information and post it — we are using traditional media standards.

Richard Sambrook (BBC): If we don’t embrace technology we’ll use the audience. BBC is publicly funded and has an advantage over private organizations and we can focus on innovation. We experimented in areas of social media but the interesting thing is that in the past 4-5 month, these issues moved quickly to center stage. London was an example — we got images and e-mails on a scale we’ve never seen before. It dictated the tone and line of the coverage.On the day following the bombing we ran with a package of video phone clips. The BBC is moving towards being a facilitator.

Farai: Popandpolitics.com (which she worked on) is all about We Media — audience weighing in on all sorts of issues. At NPR the relationship is different — we still can’t take audio files from the listeners.

Tom Curley (AP): There’s an opportunity that didn’t exist before. All AP photographers have two camera bodies: one costs $8,000, the oher $900. We intend to stay in a business to business model and intend to stay focused on news.

Merrill Brown: What’s next for AP?

Curley: We started ASAP, a reverse publishing model — start with the Web and then let content trickl down. There are a lot of ways of getting content and letting it out.

Brown: Where is CBS going to go in terms of involving viewers?

Kramer: We’re watching technology. Having Andy Rooney on a podcast is quite new. We have embraced the idea of communicating on multiple platforms and we’re doing it with the same journalistic minds that work for television. The blog is in fact our first toe in the water. Leslie Moonves has an enormous respect for content — he has been willing to pay for the best content we can get. News is the same — we want to provide the very best content we can. Like London — some of the best content in real-time might not be produced by us.

Sambrook: This is a fundamental realignment between traditional media and the public. We are accountable to a degree that we haven’t seen before. When news is democratized like this, what is the role of the news organization? Part of it is having a facilitating role. Part of it is verification — the brand of the organization tells you we’ve vetted it and organized it in a certain way.

Brown: How do you hange the way you look at news?

Sambrook: It’s about re-organizing ourselves for a digital nvironment. We have to think differently about content. We believe “on-demand” is the future — we have to think about content in a 360 degree way.

Brown: How do you make that happen? Is it about training? Management?

Sambrook: It’s a huge cultural chance and you have to ensure the body of the BBC gets what is happening. Events like 7/7 make it clear that things have changed.

Brown: How do you get CBS to embrace this?

Kramer: It starts at the top — the executives need to be behind it. We weren’t into the real time news business. For our journalists, the 24-hour cycle sounded exciting. We were focused on the vening show, but we sold the advantages to them. The political team that had a hard time getting on the air, can produce more and be seen more.

Brown: That’s more filling and more deadlines. What about getting CBS involved with public?

Kramer: Well, we do. Now you can spend more time on a story or publishing longer story. The hours they shoot for a two-minute interview can be run much longer on the Web.

Brown: Tom, tell us the inside story?

Curley: You have to walk in and show what’s in it for them: new opportunity, more access to byline. We made a big change here. For 150 years we filed for newspapers. Now we file for the fast-track (online) first. The staff for the most part understands it and gets it.

Brown: What is AP doing to get the team engaged with the public?

Curley: Two things. One we’re enabling the blogging effect. We set that up to make it available. For our biz-to-biz model — we are looking to set up access to enable people to set things up their own way.

Brown: What is happening in matters on cultural change at NPR?

Farai: I was just in DC meeting with people. I met with people doing the original podcasting. NPR is adding staff. NPR has an opening for a music editor for online, a really exciting job. I was so excited when I came to NPR because I am a digital photographer and you can do slide shows. For NPR the way we get input is handing out tape recorders to some people (we did it with Katrina). We take the material and edit it ourselves. I don’t expect people to do a full fledged radio piece but you can produce a middle-ground. With Pop and Politics I knew that most people my age will not watch CNN’s political coverage. So I started peer-to-peer journalism, young people writing for young people. With Katrina — I was in the lower Ninth Ward and saw opportunities. With Pop and Politics we’re going to look for people, create a community and produce content. It breaks my heart that the digital era might mean digital exclusion.


No Responses to “We Media conference (II)”

No comments yet

Leave a Reply