The morning session was opened by Martin Turner, Head of Operations for BBC
Newsgathering. His presentation was far and away the most on-the-money one of
the whole morning, but it was telling that the conference chair had only made
one note on it, compared to copious notes for other speakers.
outlined the shifts happening in media right now and suggested the
corresponding changes in organisational behaviour may not be enough to save the
media as we know it. In fact, he was the first (and, I think only) speaker on
the day who acknowledged that real innovation is being driven by small firms
and people outside the major media players.
Martin suggested that the only innovation by
major media businesses have been ad (and thus revenue) focussed.Coupled with
healthy(ish) online ad spend this has helped reinforce the notion that if there’s still profit in the
broadcast/linear media model why would you drop it?
Martin was also the only speaker to talk about:
- community filtering of news
which he claimed were part of the future of news and the media. But Martin also suggested that
with a proliferation in user-generated content, will the desire to produce
news dry-up or change dramatically? Unsurprisingly he had no answers.
In the afternoon,
Goldsmith’s Natalie Fenton presented on the research project’s predicted
directions. In Making Sense of the News in a Digital Age: Journalism and
Democracy, she proposed the thesis: "Forms of news journalism can contribute to the
process of democracy – which is both a marker of modernity and an inherent
feature in modern life and democratic structure."
Well, that all gets my vote and so did the
parameters of the work Goldsmiths is set to undertake, which will
investigate how speed of access, poly-centricity and
multiplicity and interactivity and participation all affect the news
production and consumption process. What is being attempted, we were told, was: “a
macro-societal investigation into micro-organisational changes.” But, of course!
However, a couple of the other presentations
research that seemed to look at online developments from the perspective of
‘what will journalism/media etc look like in the future’.But yet some of the ideas
they discussed (e.g., the BBC’s responses to multi-platform media production)
were – while interesting – not particularly ground-breaking.
I asked as much during the Q&A session and although the answers
recognised that staying ahead of the curve was a challenge when setting out research
parameters, there was an amazing outburst from one of the project
She raised her hand to ask a question but then
delivered a rant about why citizen journalism doesn’t really exist. She added
the caveat she spoke as a former journalist but her argument
that CJs were nothing more than super-sources missed the point entirely for me.
Haivng heard Dan “father of CJ” Gilmor discuss the same issue I found
Goldsmith’s take pretty dismal.
Obviously, I drink the social media Kool-Aid
good ‘n’ proper and accept that any solid research needs to be as unbiased as
possible, but then again the woman from Goldsmith’s seemed to be as against
social media as I am for, so that can’t be too even-minded!
More to come….