To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of journalism's death are greatly exaggerated. Journalism isn't going away - and neither are J-Schools. In fact, higher education is counter-cyclical; in a recession, people head to grad schools. Columbia, Stanford and NYU applications increased 38 percent, 20 percent and 6 percent, respectively, from the previous year, reports Forbes. The bigger question: where will these budding Bernsteins work?
Jeff Zucker, CEO and president of NBC Universal, has been trying to turn digital dimes into digital dollars for years. Currently he's delivering tv programs online through Hulu, transforming nbc tv stations into hyper local Web destinations, and selling tv advertising based on the Internet's automated, targeted model.
Jonathan Miller is more determined than ever to crack interactive media's money-making code in his new job as News Corp.'s digital chief. He's got plenty of learning experience to draw from, both as a partner at venture capital firm Fuse Capital and as the chairman and CEO of Time Warner's AOL. At this point, he's certain the answer will be a combination of paid and free advertising-supported content. We'll all know for sure in a few years.
Adam L. Penenberg is a journalism professor and assistant director of the Business and Economics program at New York University. His latest book, Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today's Smartest Companies Grow Themselves (Hyperion), will be on shelves in October. In the book, he explores trends in media consumption and usage, and extrapolates some for us here.
Who controls the media, and how (if it changes at all) does this control change? Braun: The consumer controls media. The consumer determines what works and doesn't work. The challenge, of course, is to come up with the next great hit. The most successful media companies are the ones that can best predict what the consumer will want tomorrow, as opposed to what they are already consuming today.
What changes are coming? Roehm: With the further development of video on demand, iptv, mobile, and many other emerging media opportunities, we have seen several "bad" user experiences. All too often, the focus is on "if we build it they will come" or "technology for the sake of technology." Finally, we are seeing more and more content distribution companies match the channel and devices to the message or content; thus, creating a positive user experience. However, we need to keep in mind that sometimes everyone just wants to sloth on the sofa and not have to "work" to consume media …
How will we consume media in five and 10 years' time? Ferguson: When everything is digitized and libraries offer materials, we will have access to anything and everything whenever we choose, at a trivial long-tail price.
How Alex Bogusky morphed into Max Headroom, George Jetson, a baby, an old man, a zombie army, and a manifestation of his own Twitter feed: "What my career has sort of been about has been the democratization of different aspects of the agency world," guest editor Alex Bogusky told us in our initial meeting about this issue.
Can the news business survive once-sacred walls toppling? Work with me on this, because you, the reader, are an integral part of this story. First, I want you to pick up this magazine. Feel the heft of it in your hands. Fan the pages, and feel the words and pictures fluttering at you. If you are reading it in print, or online, I want you to take your index finger and run it under the following line, as if to underscore its meaning: What is the value of this content?
It always feels a bit silly to me to write columns addressing the future of anything, but I can tell you that as I write this one - about the future of media, from a vantage point deep in a global economic recession - the feeling that comes to mind is more like futility. That's because I believe that something far bigger than an economic down cycle is taking place, and I also believe that media is causing it.