Journalists ponder their future in the digital world

By Adam Kealoha Causey

The future of journalism in the digital age is tense — well, sort of.

Panelists on V3con’s “The Future of Journalism in the Digital World,” sponsored by McDonald’s, came at the industry’s biggest question with perspectives that sought to balance tradition with changing audiences and old-style reporting techniques with new ways of finding stories.

And fortunately, with such serious subject matter, they offered a few laughs along the way.

Gil Asakawa, a Denver-based journalist, blogger and speaker on Asian American issues,  said he hears talk of three options for journalism’s future: it will crash and burn (complete with bomb sound effects), young journalists will ride the wave of reporting and programming, or… who knows?

But Asakawa has his own theory.

“The future of journalism is bloggers,” Asakawa said, “especially in a community like ours where mainstream journalism doesn’t pay attention to our stories.”

But bloggers may need training about journalistic ethics, Asakawa said. And while they may be a hard group to pull together, conferences like V3con could be the perfect gathering place.

Ashley Alvarado, public engagement editor for Los Angeles’ KPCC, said she sees the future of journalism as collaborating with communities. She hopes to close the gap between “we and them.”

“We build relationships, because that’s what it’s all about for me anyway, where stories come from them,” Alvarado said. “What you find more and more is that the sources are the story.”

Megan Garvey, the Los Angeles Times’ assistant managing editor for digital news, said news aggregation services from Drudge Report and Huffington Post don’t have to be seen as competition. But they need sources to pull from, so there’s tension between legacy news agencies and new generations.

“What will save American journalism in the future is the people who are continuing to do that original work that you’re not going to find somewhere else,” Garvey said. “The online medium allows you to tell those stories in a richer and deeper way than was ever possible in print.”

And here’s where the laughs come in. As for that print stuff, Asakawa quipped that he quit subscribing to paper newspapers in 1996, in part, because he doesn’t like to get “that crap” — a.k.a. ink — on his fingers.

But Garvey had a quick response: “They make better ink now.”

Moderator Frank Buckley, KTLA morning news anchor, took that as an opportunity to poll the audience. Of approximately 200 there, about 50 — or 25 percent — still subscribe to or pick up copies of print newspapers daily.

How many in the unscientific poll found this panel helpful? Survey says: 85 percent.

Future of Journalism

 

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