“You’re here under false pretenses,” Jonathan Landman told us on Saturday afternoon in his opening remarks for Cornwall Conversations which was billed as:
“the future of media and communications by two people who should know: Jonathan Landman, editor-at-large at Bloomberg News’ Bloomberg View section, and Henry Blodget, co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of Business Insider”
on the Cornwall Library website.
“We should know,” he continued, “but we don’t. No one does!” Which set the tone for the conversation that followed.
In their remarks, which flowed easily between the two experts, here were the take-aways I found most interesting:
- No one knew that twitter and Facebook would not only change journalism but become journalism.
- That print publications today are ‘basically litter’ and ‘guilt-inducing’ as newspapers pile up as reminders of the dead wood being used daily to produce them.
- There’s a big difference between ‘hits’ and ‘reads’. A ‘hit’ is the equivalent of walking by a newstand and taking in the headlines. Those numbers are counted, but aren’t the same as intentionally reading the full article. This data is difficult to mine and interpret.
- Millennials get 50% of their news on their mobile devices, 20% on computers and 0% via print media.
- Both were in agreement that America loves cats.
- The reality is that reading about our involvement in Irag does not pay the bills. Cats, however, do.
- In the same way that it incorrectly predicted that radio would eliminate newspapers and that TV would eliminate radio, the internet will not eliminate anything.
- The Internet is the richest, most creative means for journalism that has existed.
- Re truthfulness in today’s online reporting – “There are two billion fact checkers out there the moment you publish anything.
- “You can immediately edit your words. In print, words can never be fixed. Online, you can fix it forever.
- The rate of errors is the same today as in the past. E.g. Wikipedia vs. The Encyclopedia Brittanica – about the same number of errors, and wiki’s can be edited.
- Photos used to be expensive to reproduce in print. Online, they’re free. People LOVE pictures, and they are worth 1000 words.
- In addition to cats, we love lists. “21 Ways to…” etc. gets more opens than a “how-to” which is considered boring and can be read anytime.
- The Holy Grail in publishing is how to offer a manageable amount of information to keep the public reasonably informed.
One or two members in the crowd bemoaned the state of communications today and speculated at what the youth of America may be missing out on. Wisely, Jon Landman said, “Nostalgia is a very dangerous thing.” Many, in support, agreed that our children are better informed today than we Baby Boomers (and older) ever were due to the large number of sources at their fingertips. “You have to have faith in people,” Blodget concurred.
“We are still in a period of enormous experimentation,” Landman added, which makes this an exciting time to be a witness to historic changes happening daily. Blodget declared this the “new Golden Age for journalism.”