Is the digital age the end of media as we know it?
Monday’s Speak Up, Speak Out forum, called “The End of Media as We Know It: Journalism in the Digital Age,” will focus on the changes in media and how journalists and news corporations will have to adapt.
The event will feature a six-person panel comprised of Midland Daily News freelance writer Tracy Burton, Saginaw News reported Lindsay Knake, Detroit News Capitol reporter and former Central Michigan Life editor-in-chief Chad Livengood, Detroit Free Press web editor and former CM Life editor-in-chief Brian Manzullo, journalism instructor and Morning Sun online editor Mark Ranzenberger and Redford senior and CM Life editor-in-chief Aaron McMann.
The mediums through which news is reported are constantly changing, and Ranzenberger said the use of traditional media paired with modern technology will be discussed Monday.
“The title (of the forum) is not exactly true,” he said. “It implies that there will be an end of printed media and television. That is not the case. We have added additional types of electronic media that go with the traditional media.”
With the newspaper business recently experiencing some major cutbacks, the panel will look at the changing landscape of journalism.
“I think we are going to have a discussion about traditional journalism being dead, and I don’t think it is,” Livengood said. “It is alive as ever and there are more people involved in it. There are just as many people interested in what’s going on in the public’s life every day. Though not as many people might subscribe to a newspaper, there are still plenty of people who go to trusted new organizations for their news.”
Ranzenberger also wants to address the ease in which people can distribute news in this age.
“Traditional forms of media such as newspapers, billboards and television stations have a high entry price, so only people who could pay the initial investments could publish content,” he said. “With online media, everyone is a publisher and the cost of entry is much lower.”
Livengood said it’s important to have a discussion about whether readers will be willing to pay for content in the future.
“The discussion we need to have at this event is about if the younger generations will be willing to pay for content,” he said. “That is what the industry is held up on. About a decade ago, newspapers made this colossal mistake by giving away their product for free online. That would be comparable to Ford giving away a third of their cars for free.”
Although the industry is constantly evolving, Knake said the basic skills needed to be a good journalist remain the same.
“The reporting side of journalism has not changed,” Knake said. “Those basic tools of reporting we learn have not changed. The only thing that’s changed is the way the content is published. We are using different tools, and it’s really just about adapting to any kind of new tools that come up.”
The forum will take place at 7 p.m. Monday in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.