Ohio Journalist

Adapting to the role of new media

By Sarah Buelterman

(April 23, 2010) — How often are Twitter feeds projected on large screens to supplement panel discussions? Actually, that practice is becoming increasingly popular during conferences and large-scale dialogues. Considering the topic being covered at the Schuneman Symposium on Photojournalism and New Media, it only seemed appropriate.

Filling the gap
After introductions, Elliott dove right in, asking his fellow panelists what they see as the best online practices and who is successfully implementing them. West addressed the transitional phase of media.

Denniston added that commenting on his blog allows him to offer depth and perspective on topics that might only be of little interest to readers.

Cultivating a community
Elliott then shifted gears to a topic many in the audience were antsy to hear about: the success of the Obama campaign. He asked Manning how the Obama campaign was able to tailor certain information to specific supporters.

Covering a political campaign is tricky because the success of national campaign tactics does not always translate at the local level, Elliott said. It is crucial that teams choose particular elements in order to mold campaigns according to the scale of the election.

Some tools are useful and other tools are trendier. West, who served as the communications director for the campaign of Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado, helped develop a similar array of online tools that successfully created an online community for the Obama campaign; however, they did not have nearly the same impact. It is important to note that a Senate campaign is inherently different from a national campaign. The Obama campaign was particularly special because it was so inspirational and had a human quality, West said.

Who are the curators?
Such a vast array of information makes it difficult to find articles with substance and depth. Denniston explained how the Tiger Woods saga is a perfect example of repeatedly giving coverage to a superficial topic. American daily journalists are responsible for giving the public the information that they genuinely need.

When it comes to the political spectrum, Denniston noted how when a candidate displays one moment of human frailty in the new media culture, it becomes multiplied thousands of times.

Both West and Denniston noted how important it is for journalists to act as curators who can help navigate the public to worthwhile stories among an abundance of content. The barriers to entry are incredibly low, and it is important for journalists to remember that they are entering a profession in which they are learning every day.

Take a risk
Journalism has taken on so many different forms in the past several years, and the barriers to entering the profession are constantly diminishing. Taking that into consideration, what is the secret to success?

Phil Elliott discusses his career as a White House AP Correspondent at the “2010 Schuneman Symposium.“http://scrippsjschool.org/2010.php

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