OVER 1,500 PARTICIPATE IN “FUTURE OF NEWS” DISCUSSION HOSTED BY APM AND MPR
SUMMIT ADVANCES DISCUSSION SURROUNDING LOCAL JOURNALISM’S CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
On Monday, American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio welcomed 125 participants, including a former vice president of the United States, seven members of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting board of directors, and the chief executive officers of National Public Radio, PBS and WNYC, to St. Paul to discuss “The Future of News: Creating A New Model For Regional Journalism In America.” At its peak, online attendance through thefutureofnews.org, Twitter and coveritlive.com exceeded 1,500 participants who offered more than 700 published comments. Online attendees spanned the globe, logging in from locations as varied as Guatemala, Latvia, Myanmar, Greece and French Polynesia.
While the perspectives and prescriptions were as varied as the participants, a consensus emerged around the need for news outlets to work together to create their best products and platforms for consumers, summed up by one online comment as, “Do what you do best, and link to the rest.” Scott Lewis, CEO of voiceofsandiego.com, challenged attendees to consider that the future may not be an “either/or scenario”, but an ‘and scenario”. Joaquin Alvarado, SVP for Diversity and Innovation for the CPB, noted that many news outlets, and specifically many non-profit organizations, do this poorly and that currently “Öfor all the talk, there are a lot of organizations that donít know others exist.”
Participants in Saint Paul and online were also in rough agreement on the requirement for news organizations to make tough choices between “values worth saving and values worth leaving behind.” Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, outlined eight journalistic attributes that should be carried forward: provide the facts, make sense of what is happening, stand as watchdog, show up and bear witness, be a forum leader in engaging the community, aggregate and distill information for the audience to digest, empower the audience, and, in recognition of the changing nature of journalism, “Öprovide a role model for how news reporting is done.”
Many participants highlighted the importance of building media outlets that were fundamentally structured to be responsive to their communities’ and audiences’ needs, as opposed to the “top-down” structure of many traditional news organizations. Rick Kupchella, founder of bringmethenews.com, compared many traditional news organizations to health institutions built not to serve patients but doctors and administrators. Jim Hoolihan, president and CEO of the Blandin Foundation, quoting former Minnesota Governor Elmer Anderson, noted that journalists “Öshould aid the community in achieving the dreams of its people.” Laura Walker, CEO of WNYC echoed the theme by saying, “We are attracting America by reflecting America.”
The Future of News Summit convenes again today, November 17, as the CPB Board of Directors and Minnesota Public Radio Board meet in a joint board meeting in Saint Paul.
Audio and video clips of both days will be available at thefutureofnews.org on November 18 after 11 a.m. CT. For transcripts, clips or quotes, please contact Jacqueline Cartier at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651.290.1113.
American Public Media is the nation’s largest producer of public radio programs, reaching 16 million listeners nationwide each week. National programs include A Prairie Home Companion, Marketplace, Marketplace Money, The Splendid Table, Being, Performance Today, and special reports produced by its national documentary unit, American RadioWorks. American Public Media is the parent organization for Minnesota Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio and Classical South Florida. A complete list of stations, programs and additional services can be found at www.americanpublicmedia.org.