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How to cover news in the digital age

February 14, 2010

By Heather Holm

A scene from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” kicked off the speech “Let’s Innovate! Featuring You.”

The scene was meant to show the difference between digital immigrants and digital natives in the newsroom.

Ferris Bueller represented the digital natives, being open to having fun and new ideas, while the character Cameron showed an example of a digital immigrant.

The presenters brought up four main forms of media–print, broadcast, computer and mobile.
During the speech, paying for newspapers and online content was discussed.

“People have never paid for news,” said Mizell Stewart III, editor of The Evansville Courier & Press.
He said the only time readers paid for the news was during the times of the Penny Press when Howard Scripps did not want to pay for advertising.

“There is a reason for the continued existence of print,” Stewart said. “Core readers are dying out, though.”

Matt Myftui, from The Oakland Press in Pontiac, Mich., said during the audience participation that he does not get newspapers anymore and views most of his news online.

The question or what is or what is not “real” news was brought up in the speech as well.

“How many of us have watched a funny clip on YouTube that is a mash-up of something that was on the news,” Buttry asked. “Is that news?”

Stewart said sometimes people need to wade through a couple of comedy bits to get to the news, such as in shows like “The Daily Show.”

The leaders of the presentation also asked how audience members use media for purchases and such.
During the presentation, audience members were asked what companies they usually spend their money.

Meg Thilmoney, social media director for The News-Gazette in Champaign, said she usually uses ConsumerReport.com or Google.com.

Steve Buttry, C3 Coach for of Gazette Communications for The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said his son used Craigslist.com to finding an apartment and roommates.

Thilmoney will also pay for applications and songs on Itunes because they are easy to use.

The discussion ended with a way for newspapers to deal with ad sales and some advice was given on how to make ad sales and how newpspapers need to understand that ads departments are also struggling with new media at the moment.

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