Editors Stress Convergence at ASNE10

Convergence was the word of the day during the "Where We Are, Where We're Headed, How Editors Can Help Steer" panel at ASNE 2010.

Moderator Ken Auletta tossed out questions on new digital media, the affect of advertising on editorial decision and the future of the news media as we know it.

Panelists Jane Hirt, managing editor News/Features of the Chicago Tribune, Evan Smith, CEO of the Texas Tribune and Steven Swartz, president of the Hearst Newspapers discussed the importance of embracing new technologies to distribute news.

"We need to look for new ways to present out content," said Swartz. He went on to urge editors to ask themselves, "What can we do to reinvent how we package?"

Although the panelists disagreed on the issue of "pay walls" with online news services, they all agreed that even with the economic pressures facing the newspaper industry advertisers should have no say in editorial content.

"Tell, not sell," Smith stressed. He went on to say that at no point should editors make content decisions based on the wants of an advertiser, despite the revenue incentive.

Even though all agreed that the wall between advertisers and content should remain high, there was a general consensus that the separation between the news and business sides should be lowered.

With circulation and readership on a general decline, editors must take into account how they will get and hold their readers attention, which include taking marketing into mind.

On to future of journalism, Hirt said that what we today consider newspapers will change into news organizations, dispersing information for multiple platforms.

The panel was generally optimistic about the future of the industry as long as editors make the effort to adapt to the needs and wants of their readers.

Reporter: Nikole L. Pegues, Howard University


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