News media transformed by Internet
Emmy-award-winning investigative journalist David Henderson visited campus Thursday to explore the future of social networking that he addressed in his book The Media Savvy Leader.
Henderson told students today’s job market is tightest for those with the most experience, leaving opportunity open for those entering the market for the first time.
‘We live in a world where we really have to create our own opportunity,’ Henderson said. ‘You have to look at these opportunities and know what to do about the future.’
Social media Web sites, such as Twitter, have become a medium for news reporting, Henderson said, citing users who sent tweets informing outsiders what was going on while trapped in buildings during terrorist attacks in the city of Mumbai in Maharashtra, India.
‘News sources, such as CNN, weren’t able to report what was going on in the buildings because they couldn’t go inside,’ Henderson said. ‘But since there were such a large number of tweets – five to 10 a second – the news was able to report what they were being told from the people experiencing it.’
Henderson said President Obama’s changes to the White House Web site highlight how the administration has used the site to reflect its desire to be a transparent government.
‘The old White House Web site was just an HTML site with a bunch of links on it. The Obama administration wants open government and their Web site is now more like a blog. It’s very interactive and wants your participation,’ Henderson said. ‘Social media is all about spontaneity, it’s not about pushing things behind a veil. It’s about openness and transparency.’
Henderson’s background in journalism has made him quite aware of media models, prompting him to look at how existing models might evolve.
‘Models for newspapers are having to compete with sites such as Huffington Post,’ Henderson said. ‘Huffington Post recycles rubbish and it’s one of the most widely read blogs.’
Henderson said although newspapers are going through financial crisis, Web blogs such as Politico.com are seeing profits.
‘You have to use the Internet strategically, or otherwise you will be left in the dust,’ he said. ‘The success of the online world is to reach out to fewer to achieve more. Journalism will find niches to groups of people instead of blasting it out to everyone.’