Oct. 3, 2006
By Laura Yates
Because television news is an increasingly “pixilated” industry, students seeking success must be multidimensional and technology savvy. This was the message emphasized by three Scripps executives in a workshop designed to explore the future of broadcast journalism.
Bill Fee, vice president and general manger of WCPO in Cincinnati; Drew Berry, vice president and general manger of WMAR-TV in Baltimore; and Adam Symson, director of news strategy and operations at Scripps’ broadcast division, addressed an overflowing room of mostly communication students last Tuesday. The workshop was part of a daylong event that celebrated a $15 million gift from the Scripps Howard Foundation to the newly named Scripps College of Communication.
Dissemination of news through various new technologies has created many job opportunities that are different from what a communication student may expect, Fee said. “Traditional reporters do not really exist anymore,” he said, adding that graduates often start with content research instead of writing in the new job market.
The changing media landscape should be viewed as an opportunity and not an obstacle, Fee said. He advised students wishing to enter the media market to be prepared to deal with new technology, specifically those relating to the Internet which he calls “the driving force behind the communication revolution,” and to gain internship experience.
“Every year a new platform develops and we as broadcasters have to be sure we are there, because if we’re not there, (the train will) leave the train station and we are going to be left behind.”
In the past, the media consisted of one-way communication in television, radio or newspaper, where broadcasters were the “gatekeepers” of information, Symson said. Proliferation of the Internet and niche markets changed this.
“In the old days if you needed to find out what the weather was, or if you were interested in sports you had to sit through the first 25 minutes of the newscast to get to weather and sports. And in essence we forced you to become an enlightened citizenry,” he said. “Now, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to be exposed to it.”
Berry noted that the younger generation is leading the broadcast industry by changing their usage patterns and that keeping up with these changes is a primary responsibility for journalists. “You’re going to be a one person band with a lot of tools at your disposal,” he said.
Laura Yates is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.