Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Relection Paper on Media Impact

Reflection Paper

After returning from New York and Washington DC I have learned a lot about where the future of the media is headed. This trip has also helped me to realize where I am headed in my career. This trip was such a great experience. I have learned so much, met some great people, and lived in two of the most exciting cities in the world. All of the meetings we have attended have really helped me to realize what direction I should go down on my career path.

Our first meeting with Fairness and Accuracy in Media opened my eyes to the very liberal side of the media. FAIR taught me how they do their best to make all of their stories accurate and with the correct information. Our second meeting was with the Smoking gun which is investigative journalism. That was a real eye opener to see how hard it is to work with such an extremely small staff. There were only 3 men who ran that website. It seemed like so much work and very time consuming. Even during our meeting each of them continued to work while they talked with us at the same time. The Smoking Gun taught me a lot about how difficult investigative reporting can be because you have to base most of your information off of real exact documents. I also learned from the Smoking Gun that it is a lot of work to run even a small business.

Our next meeting was at the Onion, which is a satire paper. The Onion was definitely my favorite paper that we visited. From the moment we walked into that office I could feel that the atmosphere was warm and welcoming and it was. We were greeted by the editor who was a fairly young man. He showed us around and introduced us to some of the other journalist and then took us into a conference room where we talked about the paper. The entire office was filled with fairly young people. Some of the more outgoing journalist came and sat in on the meeting and talked with us as well. The Onion has a non conventional way of bringing the news to America. Their main goal is to be funny but also they want to draw attention to news that is happening around the world. I think that this is a good idea and good way to just make fun of things that are happening in the world. It is a nice break from the traditional news. I learned that they look for something that is funny first and then they make it smart which helps to draw attention to audiences.

We then met with Channel 13, which is completely different than The Onion. The Onion is all about being funny and Channel 13 is all about the news. The goal of Channel 13 is to educate everyone about the rest of the world. They just want to tell the news. I also learned from Channel 13 that it is a tough industry to be working in during this economic crisis. They have very tight budgets and must produce shows in a short amount of time. I also learned that the news industry needs to make people watch their news stations by adding more entertainment news. Ratings are showing that people want to know more about the entertainment industry. Channel 13 also discussed how they first start off a news story. They said that in order to make a story intriguing you have to start off with something that grips people’s attention and makes the listeners or watchers want to hear or watch the rest. The best advice I took away from this meeting is that we have to be a trustworthy journalist and not lie to the viewers. Once you lie to the viewers once you lose their trust, they stop watching or listening to that show or station.
Our next meeting was with Nielsen Company. Nielsen Company is the biggest marketing and media research company in the world. At Nielsen Company we learned what they do which is to basically track the performance of shows. I learned that the TiVO and DVR systems have made it more difficult for this company to see what the viewership is, but they are working around it and trying to figure out new ways to work with the DVR systems.

We then met with Ketchum Public Relations. A public relations company basically just represents clients and gives them advice on what to do. Ketchum Public Relations has three main jobs. The first is to offer communication services of all matter to their clients. The second is to relate to selective publics. The third is global profession; they represent companies that have companies from all around the world. From meeting with Ketchum Public Relations I have learned that PR companies are doing very well and growing. I have learned that in order to be in the public relation business you have to be a people person because you are constantly working with people all day long, whether it is just on the phone meetings, or meetings in person. Your job as a public relations person is to make your clients happy. I also learned that when in the Public Relations Business you can not represent two companies that are at odds with each other. I learned that Ketchum Public Relations goal is to achieve their client’s goals, and once they have done that, they have done their job.

Our next meeting was with Barron’s Magazine Online. We met with a man who was in charge of the stocks page for the online magazine. The main advice I took away from Barron’s is that every page written has to be marketing now. You have to make the reader want to come back the next day and read it again and again. The news business is about the people and you have to remember that and base many of your stories off of things people would be interested in. The main goal of Barron’s Magazine is to tell the reader what they need to know.
We then went to New York School of Law where we met with Michael Botin. We learned that Law schools focus more on economic and federal issues. We mostly discussed the digital environment here at the New York School of Law. One of the interesting remarks made by Michael is that the United States still needs to catch up with technology. We are behind other countries. I learned that in order to find out how the technological systems work we have to understand the new technology. Another interesting fact that I learned from the New York School of Law is that the copyright sticker is meaningless today. I find this very interesting because it is true. There are so many ways to get around the copyright laws now such as downloading music and movies illegally. It is interesting to hear that because it seems odd that they would not be enforcing stricter copyright laws.

We then went to meet with the Associated Press. The Associated Press was a very cool building with tons of employees. We got to learn about how the Associate Press was formed which was in 1846. Then we got to meet with some of the employees there and we discussed the current conditions of the media. The best thing about the going to the Associated Press is that we were able to attend a staff meeting. This was a great experience to witness. It gave us students a feel of what the work world is really like. During our meetings with the Associated Press we discussed how the media is changing at a rapid pace. The most interesting fact stated was that people are worried that the internet will replace the newspaper. Then Xavier Williams made a good point by saying that “the radio did not replace the newspaper.” This was a smart comment because it is true everyone is worried that the internet is going to change the media forever, but we the radio didn’t replace the newspaper and the internet has not replaced the newspaper yet. We cannot see the future so we do not know yet if the internet will change journalism, but so far it has not, so we should not be worried. Change is really hard for people, but we can always predict that change will happen. Another interesting point made at Associated Press is that the journalism world needs people who understand media and business. People need business skills to keep up with the rest of the journalism world. I also learned that journalism is all about credibility and accountability. Another man we met with at associated press was Robert Naylor who is the Director of Leadership and management. Mr. Naylor talked about how he helps managers understand that there will always be conflict, but he gives advice on how to settle that conflict. We then discussed what people are looking for in newspapers, which is one of the most difficult things about being a journalist. The lifestyles and entertainment are the fastest growing in newspapers. The best advice I took away from our meeting with the Associated Press is that the most successful journalist will be the ones that present what people want to see. The Associated Press was most helpful in terms of telling us what journalist goals should be and how they should go about in achieving these goals.

Our next meeting was with Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising. Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising were very useful to me because that is along the lines of what I want to get involved in after school. Marketing is such a major part of our world and most people do not even realize it. I really liked the Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising work environment. They seem to be a very close group of people which is good for an advertising and marketing group, because that way they can all work together and come up with ideas. One of the neat examples that Saatchi and Saatchi showed us were some of the commercials that they have made. My favorite one was the Crest toothpaste commercial. Saatchi and Saatchi were very helpful to me because it assured me that I am going down the correct career path. The one downer at Saatchi and Saatchi was that it seemed that you basically had to live there in order to work there. They had gyms and kitchens there to accommodate their employees. They even mentioned that the reason for this is because most people never leave this office because they are always working. The main advantage to having to “live” there at Saatchi and Saatchi was the amazing the view that they had of New York City. The main lesson that I learned from Saatchi and Saatchi is that advertising is such a big part of our world right now and it is a booming business, so if you’re ready to give your life to the advertising world, jump on board, because they are always looking for fresh people with new ideas.

One of the best experiences I had in New York was getting to go to Fox News Studio and meet Sean Hannity. This was such a great experience because we got to go behind the scenes and see what the production of a news show is like. We ended going to the show the same day of the plane crash in the Hudson River so we got to attend a live taping of the show. We first got there and met with Sean’s assistant who showed us to the green room where there were many guest for the show. Then she took us to the studio where we met with Mr. Hannity. He was such a nice guy and so down to earth. We talked to him a little bit about why we were here and his show, and then when his show was about to start we went to watch it in the green room with the other guests of the show. The studio itself was cool to see because it looks a lot different in real life then on television. There were cameras everywhere and it was very bright. The green room was neat as well. They had food, TV’s, and couches set up everywhere. It was cool to talk to some of the guest and hear their perspectives on what they thought of the plane crash and what not. All in all going to Fox News was a memorable experience that I will never forget.

Our next meeting was with Colombia University. We were meeting with Sreenath Sreenavasian. At this meeting I learned many new journalism terms. For example he talked about a tradigital journalist. A tradigital journalist is a journalist who is a traditional journalist, but also a journalist who knows all about the digital world. This is an interesting term because it is so true in this new world of media a journalist must understand all the new technology, but at the same time they must be able to know the traditional ways of journalism as well. While I learned that we need to have both the traditional and digital ways of media in journalism, I learned something different from the Colombia Review.

At the Colombia Review, the newspaper at Colombia University said that journalism is going completely in the digital direction. Since the web allows us to do so much it gives journalists an advantage to research and what not. We were told that online is the direction things are going. That in some point in the near future all things will be online. I did not get that from any of our previous meetings. Most of our previous meetings stated that things will be online but at the same time there will still be newspapers. Here we were told that the direction we are going is completely online.

Our next meeting was in Washington DC, where we first went to Project for Excellence and met with Tom Rosenstiel. Project for Excellence is a Pew Research Center helping to make journalism better and more accurate. At this research center they analyze news stories. One example of a news story they analyzed was the Clinton/Lewinski scandal. We also discussed how people do not watch the news at night anymore because they can get the news whenever they like because it is all online. We also discussed how the one big change in technology is a power shift. The consumer is now the journalist because we are always searching and hunting for news. We talked about how our news consumption changes every day. We can consume anything we want whenever we want and that is what is causing the internet to boom. The web has brought everybody back into breaking news.

Our next meeting was with the National Association of Broadcasters where we met with Marcellus Alexander who is head of the Television Department. The National Association of Broadcasters represents television and radio stations across the country. There we discussed the digital transition which the National Association of Broadcasters is really pushing for to happen on the upcoming date. He also mentioned how viewers want content when they want it and they will get it then. The best advice I took away from the National Association of Broadcasters is that I need to find a job that I love. I am glad that he said that because there are so many people in this world who have jobs that do not like and so they have no passion for what they do. I want to be excited to go to work and not regret the career paths I have chosen. Mr. Alexander was the only person who told us to find a job that we love. He mentioned that he loved his job and you could tell just from the way he talked about, he just seemed happy and that is how I want to feel about my job.

Our second meeting in Washington DC was with Claudia James at the Podesta Group. The Podesta Group is a lobbyist group. We talked about what a lobbyist actually does which is they try to change policies and they are the eyes and ears for their clients. On the day we were at this meeting, it was the first day that President Obama was in office. So there were a few changes made in policies. When asked how the lobbyist felt about these changes most of them seemed very positive about them.

Our next meeting was with National Public Radio. We got a full tour of the building, where we got to see all the studio rooms and their library’s full of tapes. Throughout the tour we learned that NPR produces shows in their studios. They also talked about how the digital transition allows some of their other content to be provided on to other shows. Also at National Public radio we discussed how they were trying to attract a younger audience by adding music to some of their radio shows. We also discussed how they are trying to get local and national content all together and they are hoping the digital transition will help with this.

Our next meeting was with a friend of Nikki’s. We met for a lunch meeting at a cute restaurant call Bilbo Baggins which is located in Old Town Alexandria. Nikki’s friend Dwayne Dick brought along two of his colleagues and we discussed the digital transition. We discussed how there could be a delay in this transition due to money problems, but all three of the men we met with thought that it would be best if the digital transition occurred sooner rather than later. We were also told that a call center would be set up to help people with the digital transition. It was mentioned that digital converters might not work so they are pushing people to by cable instead of the converter box. Some good general advice they gave us is to take some business and marketing classes. Marketing classes will help to market ourselves and business classes will help us to understand the business models set up through journalism.

Our third meeting that day was with the Reporters committee for Freedom with Lucy Dalglish. Lucy was a former journalist who went to law school. She works for the reporters committee for freedom which is an advocacy organization that works with legal matters. They have a 24/7 hotline you can call if you get into trouble with the law. They also have a magazine, newsletter and website. They get funding from big America news stations. She gave us some of her views on journalism as well as some good advice on how to be a good journalist. She told us that we needed to be “truthful, accurate, and timely,” when we are writing news articles. She also made some interesting comments. She said that blogging is not journalism, but in some of our meetings people told us that blogging was a part of journalism. It just depends of the person’s point of view. She also mentioned that in our near future we can predict that there will be more online journalist.

Our last and fourth meeting that day was with Frank Lomonte who works at the Student Press Law Center. They also have 24/7 hotline for students to call if they need advice in the law department. They receive about 2, 500 phone calls a year of people who are in trouble and need advice. They have specifications though on whom they can help and who they cannot help. They only help people in journalism cases.

Later on Thursday night Nikki, Hannah, and I went out to dinner with our friend Sally and her husband. Sally is the one who got us passes to get into the Inauguration watching party. We went to Capital Grill which is by the Newseum. It was very good food. The restaurant is famous here for its steaks. It was a lot of fun talking with Sally and her husband, they are great people. We talked about the inauguration and how it was for them. They had very good seats and in fact such good seats that they were sitting right next to Leonardo DiCaprio! They also sat by numerous other celebrities. Although they had great seats they also had trouble getting to their gate as well as most of the people attending the inauguration did. We all had such a good time and great food. Sally also gave us some good advice on how to approach the job world and even gave us a couple of names of people to call and ask questions about their jobs. The dinner was a great end to a very long Thursday.

On Friday we had our last three days meetings in DC. We first met with The Express which is a newspaper that one of Jim’s former Whitworth Students works at. It is neat to see a Whitworth grad at work. Aimee first showed us around her work area. There were piles and piles of papers everywhere and she mentioned that is what a typical journalist desk looks like. Then she talked a little about her transition from Washington State to Washington DC. It was a nice to change to hear about because we will all be facing a big move soon, so to hear a story from a recent grad was nice.

Then we met with The Washington Post Online. We met up with Chet Rhodes there at the Post. They are a for profit corporation, meaning they want to make money off of their papers and websites. Their online website is very modern with advanced technology. On the website they have in setup so people can read the most viewed articles which are bold and some have pictures, so that the reader can easily find them. He mentioned that when building things on the web you must think of the user. He also said that short stories actually help out the paper because readers will actually read the whole thing versus long ones. The main advice Chet told us was that the audiences decides who the journalist is.

For our last meeting we met with the CEO of PBS. The CEO of PBS happens to be a woman named Paula Kerger. It was neat to see a woman so high up in the corporation. It just shows how far women have come today. PBS is marketed more towards children because they have so many children television shows. They also have a website that is geared more to older teens and adults. The website is pbs.org which is one of the top broadcaster’s website. PBS had some good ideas on how to get more people to watch their television shows and go to their online website. They have videos and games on their website that attracts more people. PBS is also heavily involved in the digital transition and agrees that is would be best to move forward with it. One of the main points Paula made is that advertising is a big part of their business. Advertising is still how they support there corporation. An interesting way they advertise is by adding polls to their websites. One example of one of the polls they did was a Sarah Palin poll which asked “is Sarah Palin qualified to be Vice President.” This poll gave their website a lot of hits. All in all PBS was a great place to visit because it set a good example for women to strive for greatness because we are just as capable as men to run a business.

I have learned a lot from these meetings. Almost all of the places we visited said it was a tough time for a journalist because of the state of the economy. What I took away from all these meetings in terms of my career in the future is that advertising in key. All of the places we met with stated that advertising is what brings in the money and keeps the business going. Also a few of the places we went to mentioned that we should have some classes in marketing and in business. This assured me that I am going down the right career path because I’m double majoring in business management and marketing. I am glad that most of the media people told us that marketing and advertising is a huge part of their business because I think that marketing is overlooked a lot. If you really think about you will see that marketing and advertising is everywhere it surrounds our daily lives. It is all over the internet and it is on commercials for radio and television shows. Even when you are going to apply for a job you have to market yourself so that the employer will pick you. Another example of daily advertising is the clothes that people choose to wear. For example if a person is a wearing a shirt that say “Abercrombie,” that is advertising. That person is helping to bring attention to the clothing store Abercrombie and Fitch. Marketing and advertising is what draws the viewers in to that particular program or paper. I am glad that I chose marketing and business for my major because it is something I love learning about and after going on this trip it has assured me that this is what I want to do with the rest of my life.

This has been a fun, but very busy trip. I’m a little sad to leave the east coast because I really like it here, minus the freezing cold weather. Looking back on all the meetings we have had I have learned a lot about the media and how it is rapidly changing. This trip started in New York, a city that seems to never sleep. I thought New York was fun and exciting, but I could never live there. My favorite place we visited was probably the Onion. They were so funny and very memorable. I like the atmosphere that surrounded the people and the office. I also really enjoyed meeting Sean Hannity. He was a nice guy and so down to earth. It was cool going to see the production and behind the scenes of a news show. An interesting vibe I picked up in New York City is that many of the media people we met with there had a negative perspective on the way the media is right now. They seemed to think that journalism was in a bad place at the moment. All in all though, New York City was a lot of fun and I am so glad I got the chance to go there and meet some great people. Washington DC has been fun too. The most memorable part of the DC trip was of course the Inauguration. It was great to see all these people come together for this one historic event. My favorite meeting in DC was the National Association of Broadcasters. It was interesting to hear their perspectives on the digital transition and why they are pushing for it to happen. DC is such a cool city filled with our country’s history. I think that I like DC more than New York because it is cleaner and the people seem to be nicer. I could see myself living in Washington DC more than in New York City. An interesting vibe I picked up in DC is that they all seemed to have a positive outlook on the media; they all seemed to think that it was doing fine versus New York who seemed to think it was struggling a lot. It was funny to see that the two cities had very different perspectives on the media. I have really enjoyed this trip and recommend it to all communications and marketing majors. It is a great experience and an eye opener to what the job world really looks like.

-Stephanie D.

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