Loosing the paper, keeping the news

We can now stop wringing our hands, and start rolling up our sleeves, Marty Kaiser, the current president of the American Society of News Editors (ASNE), said as he thanked Charlotte H. Hall, last year's president.

Last year, the ASNE conference was canceled due to the tough economic times that newspapers were facing. The conference was suppose to be held, ironically, the day that the Rocky Mountain News filed for bankruptcy.

"We needed to be in our news rooms, we needed to support them, and we didn't need to be off at a convention," Kaiser said.

Things have gotten better, but not by much.

ASNE reports that in 2009, 5,200 journalists lost their jobs. In 2008, the number was 6,000.

Many speakers shared this optimistic outlook, including Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google and the keynote speaker of the opening night.

"What you do is incredible important," Schmidt said.

The "power of information" is something that Google and newspapers both realize, he continued.

Schmidt also emphasized the differences of the current generation with the past.

"It is a sense of connectiveness," he said.

With the power of mobile phones and computers, we have the ability to access so much information. In terms of bytes, we consume more information in two days than we have consumed in the entire history of man, he said.

In the end, electronics will change the way that people interact with the news.

Schmidt held up three devices: a mobile phone, the Kindle and the iPad.

"What makes these different than newspapers?" he asked.

The answer: They are personal, they know you.

"They remember me, know what I like and they challenge me," he said.

In this conference, attendees can expect to find new challenges and advice to overcome them. Hopefully, take them back to the newsrooms, roll up their sleeves and make news profitable once more.