Panel: New media means higher expectations for new grads

So many sources to sort, so many audiences to engage and so much content to create, a panel of experts agreed at the Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit Thursday at SUNY Oswego. Actually, those sources are called feeds; the audiences, user bases; and the content, multi-platform media.

Summit panel“New terminology is creeping into the language”” said WRVO-FM General Manager and Media Summit panel moderator Michael Ameigh.

The seventh annual edition of the summit drew together a variety of media professionals, including alumna Sharon Newman of ABC News radio, alumnus and television personality Kendis Gibson and cable pioneer and summit founder Louis A. Borrelli Jr., Oswego class of 1977.

The panel was rounded out by manager and media strategist Ric Harris of the sales firm Accenture and Adriana Waterston, vice president of marketing and business development at Horowitz Associates Market and Multicultural Research. NBC weatherman Al Roker of the class of 1976 made a cameo shot by friend Borrelli and appropriately recorded on an iPhone, arguably one of the most influential devices in the new media landscape.

“You’re on the cusp of something really exciting that’s about to happen,” Waterston told a near-capacity crowd of mostly students at Waterman Theatre. This generation of communications majors will be using evolving technology to make connections with an equally expansive variety of audiences, she said.

“It’s not an ‘either/or’ world, it’s an ‘and/also’ world,” Harris said.

To accommodate the trend toward fast information delivered via multiple platforms, future journalists will need to be prepared to engage in social media, shoot video, record audio and post content to the Web, panelists said.

The days of “story at 11” television news are over, 1994 Oswego graduate Gibson said. “By the time you guys leave here, you’re going to have to do so many things,” said the former Headline News reporter and current weekend anchor for ABC affiliate WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C.

The Web has been a key catalyst for change. Information is immediate and often unfiltered on Web-based platforms like Twitter and YouTube.
“Now you don’t have to report. It’s there, it’s happening,” said Newman of the class of 1979. For example, supporters from each side of an issue have the opportunity to deliver their own story through a variety of channels. “That takes the mainstream media right out of it.”

And traditional media are under a lot of pressure to be the first to report the information, an attempt to build audience loyalty that also creates a environment prone to misinformation, Harris noted.

Unedited content without the context traditionally guided by an editor or producer is a concern, Borrelli said.

Following the panel discussion, which was webcast live by student-run WTOP-TV, were invited to network with a set of five alumni working in the field. This year’s Career Connectors were 1999 graduate Peter Gunn, a sales manager with WEWS-TV in Cleveland; 2009 graduate Garry Herbert Jr., director of member services for WCNY-TV in Syracuse;  2005 graduate Amy Kishpaugh, an account executive for WSYR-TV in Syracuse; 1977 graduate Rick Yacobush, general sales manager for Clear Channel Radio in Syracuse; and 2007 graduate Jeffery Knauss an account executive with WHAM-TV in Rochester.

Borrelli founded the summit in 2005 with a leadership gift. Three years ago, he and Roker provided funding to name it in honor of their mentor Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell, longtime chair of Oswego’s communication studies department, who passed away in 2007.

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PHOTO CAPTION: New media peak—Media Summit panelists discussed the good and ill of new media and what students can do to prepare for work in the field Thursday in Waterman Theatre. Seated, from left, are: moderator Michael Ameigh, 1979 graduate Sharon Newman, 1994 graduate Kendis Gibson, Ric Harris, Adriana Waterston and summit founder Louis A. Borrelli Jr.

(Posted: Oct 27, 2011)

Tags: alumni