Journalists discuss state of field

March 27, 2014

Felipe De La Hoz/WSN

Steinhardt’s department of Media, Culture and Communication presented an event titled  “Journalism: Bullish on the Future?” on March 26, which focused on George Brock’s book “Out of Print: Newspapers, Journalism and the Business of News in the Digital Age.” Brock is a professor and head of journalism at City University London.

Apart from Brock, there were four additional speakers at the event — journalist Steven Waldman, Columbia journalism professor Sheila Coronel, author Peter Pringle and Forbes columnist J. Max Robins, who moderated the discussion.

NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen said Brock’s book is centered on answering the question of whether traditional journalism will continue.

“Can the legacy media adapt and continue the tradition of public service journalism into the next century, or will the firms and brands that carry the free press forward be the newer companies, born into digital means, adaptive from the start,” Rosen said.

Brock said he had attended many debates and seminars about journalism, where people were pessimistic about the future of the profession. He said he thought he should write a book addressing the optimistic side of it.

“Written like most books, ‘Out of Print’ was written because there was a gap in understanding I wanted to correct,” Brock said.

After Brock presented his book, the panelists discussed topics such as the use of the Internet as a journalistic tool, the future of print journalism, trends in journalism and the pros and cons of the digital era.

During the discussion about the future of print journalism, Coronel mentioned the importance of newspapers in the reporting process.

“The majority of original reporting is done by newspapers,” Coronel said.

The speakers also analyzed the way reporting has changed due to the emergence of social media and the digital media era. Coronel emphasize that the public is becoming part of the reporting process.

“News is becoming incredibly interactive,” Coronel said.

Steinhardt senior Ava Zhou said she found the discussion relevant to what she has been discussing in her classes.

“They pointed out something that I hadn’t thought about, so, for example, access to the Internet as a human right, that’s very fascinating,” Zhou said.

NYU journalism professor Mitchell Stephens, who also has a book coming out discussing the topic titled “Beyond News: The Future of Journalism,” said journalists will have to find new ways to promote their stories.

“News is too widely available and people are getting used to getting it for free and journalists will have to learn to sell something else, such as analysis and what I like to call insight,” Stephens said.

Stephens said these types of events are important for the field.

“The more discussion about the future of journalism the better,” Stephens said. “You can’t be a journalist now without thinking about the future of journalism.”

Marita Vlachou is a staff writer. Email her at news@nyunews.com.

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