On August 27, Business Wire Denver hosted a panel of media experts to talk about “The Future of How Global News is Delivered, and the Rise of the Fractured Communications Class.” Despite the daunting title, the focus of the discussion was clear: How are people getting their news today, who is providing it, and what are the media’s new roles in this landscape?
The panel, moderated by Joe Hodas, Senior Vice President, Brand Communications at Vladimir Jones, consisted of:
- Steve Snyder, Director of Corporate Communications, Frontier Airlines
- Michael Booth, Anchor Team Writer, The Denver Post
- Eric Elkins, CEO and ePR/Social Media/Marketing Strategist, WideFoc.us
- Jack Maher, Executive Producer, 9News
- Sandi Garcia, Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Kempe Foundation
Hodas started the panel off with the proposition
that we are a fractured communication class – that people don’t read the entire newspaper anymore, nor do people watch a full half hour of news. Instead, people gather their news in little bits and pieces from all over the place. He believes that this type of news gathered by consumers is making mass media less and less realistic. Their responses:
Elkins is a fan of fractured media. He does not believe that you can get to your audiences to come to you; you have to go where they are gathering. Where they are gathering news is constantly changing, so it’s important to stay ahead and stay aware of social media trends.
Booth wonders how the media can still get paid in such an environment. The Denver Post and 9News have two of the most popular websites in the west (presumably by hits), yet only 10 percent of the Post’s revenue comes from the Web. Mistakes were made in the past to allow people to receive writing and video and other content for free, and now it’s catching up to the industry.
Snyder explains that Frontier’s approach to social/fractured media is a careful one. “Because we live in a world where every single employee can also be a reporter, steps must be taken to ensure that the employees are aware of how and when they represent the company. Frontier is retraining every single employee to address this very thing.”
Maher, a self-described “social media curmudgeon,” notes that when he started in the journalism business, they used glue to keep film together. A story required a reporter, a photographer and a sound guy. Now he, and many of his colleagues, have to be jacks of all trades. Jack described this as the MMJ (multi-media journalist) concept. “It is no longer practical or acceptable to be one dimensional.” He wonders, “Is the product being diluted by going to all these places?”
Garcia reveals that social media has opened up many doors for her non-profit. She mentioned that keeping content fresh on their website with a small staff and smaller budget is challenging. Because of this challenge, there are no restrictions on using social media in their office.