New Media panel: An after-report

posted at 10:01 am on June 19, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier today, I spoke at the Presidential Conference, Tomorrow 2013, as part of a panel on New Media and its impact on traditional news outlets.  My invitation to this panel came after the invitation to cover the conference, but it’s a familiar topic for all of us in the New Media world — and perhaps for those in the traditional media world, too.  The topic may not have seemed to directly address the main themes of the conference, but a final question did put the argument in a different context.

The participants were:

  • Jane Eisner of Forward, moderator
  • Renata Peres, media researcher
  • Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO
  • Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC
  • Aluf Benn, editor-in-chief of Ha’aretz

Since I was on stage, I didn’t get any pictures or take any notes, but the discussion was fairly memorable nonetheless.  Peres told the audience that her research showed that New Media and social media actually drive people to access the traditional media outlets more, and remain more loyal to them.  Benn, whose perspective comes from over thirty years in the print media, spoke of traffic data as a feedback loop on the interests and diversity of his readers.  Plepler and Griffin spoke about the communities that form around the product — more on that later — and I spoke about the rise of the blogosphere as a market with low barriers to entry that allow millions to compete against both more traditional outlets as well as each other.

All of us agreed that the real dynamic in play has been consumer choice — and that’s as true on cable as it is on the Internet.  I made the point that the choice revolution actually started before the Internet, with the widespread popularity of cable and the so-called fragmentation of the audience.  Benn pointed out that most of the rest of that choice, especially among newspapers, came after the Internet, but the process of decentralizing information in the news media had already begun.  Also, we agreed that there really isn’t “objective, pure” reporting, but in an age where consumers can choose multiple sources, is that really much of a problem?  I argued no, as long as outlets disclose their points of view, and used the British press as a good example.

One final question from the audience stuck with me, though.  With all of the talk from Griffin, Plepler, and myself about building communities around specific content — and Griffin and I explicitly cast that in ideological terms — how does that reconcile with the main theme of the conference, which is to break down division to bring peace? Bill Clinton had just finished talking about broadening the definition of “us” in order to achieve peace, and downstairs we were discussing the need to court niche audiences and make them part of their own communities in order to succeed.  I’d argue that those are two different contexts and that diversity of political approach isn’t what Clinton was arguing against, but it’s still a question worth pondering.

Note:  The conference paid my travel expenses to appear and to write about what I observe, but have no editorial input into my posts.

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how does that reconcile with the main theme of the conference, which is to break down division to bring peace?

Oh Ed… they mean totalitarianism, of course. Read Alinsky.

faraway on June 19, 2013 at 10:07 AM

How did the US bring peace to Nazi Germany and Hirohito’s Japan?

What? Clinton didn’t mention those? P’shaw!

Shy Guy on June 19, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Bill Clinton had just finished talking about broadening the definition of “us” in order to achieve peace

So tolerance isn’t enough, I must identify with every group I disagree with as well. Sounds like groupthink to me which, if it needs saying, is not a good thing.

Fenris on June 19, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Bill Clinton had just finished talking about broadening the definition of “us”

Slick Willy’s just trying to pick up some babes.

faraway on June 19, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Did you all hold hands and sing the “Internationale” at the conclusion?

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on June 19, 2013 at 10:15 AM

OT /
Vince Flynn died today .
RIP

Lucano on June 19, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Neville Chamberlain approved.

Panther on June 19, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Bill Clinton had just finished talking about broadening the definition of “us” in order to achieve peace

Which will happen when all you rethuglicans renounce your evil ways…

/s

It’s like “compromise” in Congress, it means R’s give ground and D’s let them.

trubble on June 19, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Lucano on June 19, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Oh my, may he RIP and prayers for his family, friends and book lovers.
Mitch Rapp :) I’ll miss them.

CoffeeLover on June 19, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Any definition of “us” broad enough to include a group of people that want to kill the part of the new “us” that wasn’t the old “them” is a suicidal definition and should be rejected.

BKennedy on June 19, 2013 at 10:42 AM

OT /
Vince Flynn died today .
RIP

Lucano on June 19, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Terrible news. God Bless his family and friends. RIP.

d1carter on June 19, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Peres told the audience that her research showed that New Media and social media actually drive people to access the traditional media outlets more, and remain more loyal to them.

At first I was going to disagree with this due to the declining viewership and reading of traditional offerings. But I always go to my sister for an example. She doesn’t want to hear most of it, is not happy but doesn’t mind latching onto whatever the MSM states is the reason for her unhappiness. Although she believed every campaign ad that came down the pike. On both sides.

Cindy Munford on June 19, 2013 at 10:51 AM

OT…Feelgood news of the day…

Former Florida Republican Rep. Allen West indicated that he might be open to challenging Sen. Marco Rubio in a 2016 GOP Senate primary.

“That’s a pretty heavy lift, because you’re talking about running against a sitting senator, and then, of course, that creates that schism that the other side would love to see happen,” West, who has ruled out a 2014 run, told host Larry O’Connor.

West, who said he wanted to “serve this country in whatever capacity I possibly can,” explained that his frustration with Rubio stemmed from the possible GOP presidential candidate’s support of the current immigration reform bill, which is currently being debated in the Senate…”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/06/19/allen-west-open-to-possibility-of-challenging-marco-rubio-in-republican-primary/#ixzz2WfrGfGFr

workingclass artist on June 19, 2013 at 10:56 AM

How did the US bring peace to Nazi Germany and Hirohito’s Japan?

What? Clinton didn’t mention those? P’shaw!

Shy Guy on June 19, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Blood, bullets and tanks, lots of tanks.
Socialism is forced on people. Liberty is not.

Bubba Redneck on June 19, 2013 at 10:57 AM

workingclass artist on June 19, 2013 at 10:56 AM

Going on the theory that any Democrat would be less effective at pushing amnesty among Republicans, and the unmitigated disaster that the gang of 8 bill would be (affecting every other issue), I’m thinking it would be better to have a Democrat in office than Rubio. Of course West would be much better, but not holding my breath.

Fenris on June 19, 2013 at 11:01 AM

So, Bill Clinton was saying we need to change definitions, again? Imagine that……

GWB on June 19, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Bill Clinton had just finished talking about broadening the definition of “us” in order to achieve peace…

So Bill, does that all depend on what the definition of “us” is?

Ed, hope you enjoyed your time in Israel and hoped you got to spend some time just plain ole sightseeing while you weren’t working. Safe travels home.

D-fusit on June 19, 2013 at 11:53 AM

All of that is fine, but our entire media ecosystem still relies on traditional newspapers to actually report and uncover the news. Newsgathering is job #1 in media, in my opinion, and conservative “new media” to date has done very little actual newsgathering. Until it does, it will be very hard for conservatives to drive media narratives.

Outlander on June 19, 2013 at 12:27 PM

I’m thinking it would be better to have a Democrat in office than Rubio. Of course West would be much better, but not holding my breath.

Fenris on June 19, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Hugely disappointed in Rubio! Turns out he’s just another RINO con artist. Whoda thunk?

UPNorthWolf on June 19, 2013 at 3:00 PM