Undoubtedly the media industry is in a huge state of transformation. The proliferation of the Internet and social media platforms has forced traditional news outlets to adapt to the changing times and figure out how, exactly, to capture an audience while still making money. And no matter what news medium is used, the media plays a vital role in our democracy and society as a whole.
At the Aspen Ideas Festival in early July, we sat down with some of the top movers and shakers in the media industry to get their thoughts on new media developments and trends in their fields. These are people influencing media as we know it.
1. Maria Bartiromo @MariaBartiromo: This award-winning CNBC anchor and author was named by The Financial Times as one of the “50 Faces That Shaped the Decade” in 2009. She talked to genConnect about taking risks at a young age, advice for young graduating journalists, her three rules of success, and her views on the U.S. financial standing and future. We asked Maria what drives the market – the data or emotions surrounding it? “With the Internet and with so many new sources of data and information, it has become more difficult for people to to assess that data, because you really have to figure out what’s important and what isn’t,” she said. Although it’s mostly data that drives the market, emotion does, as well. But “you don’t really want to invest that way. That’s not investing – that’s trading,” Maria says. “I’m a big proponent of understanding what the picture is today and where the vision is in terms of where you’re going long-term … and not make knee-jerk reactions.”
2. Andrea Mitchell @mitchellreports and Andrea Mitchell MSNBC: This NBC foreign affairs correspondent, MSNBC anchor and author has interviewed some of the most influential people in the world. She talked to genConnect about her tough interview with the Iranian president, the Arab Spring and the key issues of the 2012 election.
3. Andrew Ross Sorkin @andrewrsorkin and andrewsorkin: This accomplished young business reporter, New York Times columnist, and editor of DealBook took the business world by storm with his book, Too Big to Fail: How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System — and Themselves. Andrew talked to genConnect about Too Big to Fail, how traditional reporting helped him get insight from some of the biggest names in business today, and whether we’ll ever understand exactly how our financial world neared collapse.
4. David Brooks: This New York Times op-ed columnist has also been a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, a contributing editor at Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly, and he is currently a commentator on “The Newshour with Jim Lehrer.” In an interview with genConnect, where he spoke about most recent book, “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement,” Brooks talked about how he became the go-to guy for comments that may not sway consistently either left or right in America. “There are a lot of people that, if you just try to react honestly to what’s happening … there are a number of us who just say what we think and there’s a market for that,” he said. As for how he comes up with new ideas for columns, Brooks said he tells college students: “Imagine having a paper due in three days and that’s the rest of your life, so there’s always a need to have ideas.”
5. Chris Matthews @cmatthewsmsnbc and ChrisMatthewsMSNBC: Chris Matthews is a journalist force to be reckoned with. The MSNBC “Hardball” host has covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, the ﬁrst all-races election in South Africa, the Good Friday Peace Accord in Northern Ireland, the funeral of Pope John Paul II and every American presidential election campaign since the 1980s. Matthews talked to genConnect about the qualities that make a tremendous politician.
6. James Bennet @jbennet: The editor-in-chief of The Atlantic has been at the helm of the magazine as it has undergone a sweeping transformation and redesign, trying to expand its reach beyond the pure policy wonks. He talked to genConnect about how The Atlantic has adapted to the digital age and why the magazine was a key partner in the Aspen Ideas Festival. The media industry has been undergoing “extraordinary turmoil and change – much of it scary, a lot of it also exciting,” he said. The Atlantic has been in business for more than 150 years, in part, because the magazine has a very ”distinct” editorial mission – the cornerstone of which is posing challenging, thought-provoking arguments. “We found a lot in this new media environment to really take advantage of,” Bennet continued, including more opportunities for live conversation “to advance big ideas and make provocative arguments on consequential questions that are relevant to our readers and the times.”
7. Michele Norris @michele_norris and MicheleNorris: Michele has been the host of National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” for nine years but she grew up listening to public radio. When Michele is on the air, she tries to imagine the individuals across the country listening to her, and not the country as a whole, in an effort to reach out and relate to people as individuals. We talked to Michele on the challenges of cross-cultural connections in today’s society.
8. Gillian Tett @gilliantett: Gillian is the US managing editor of The Financial Times, leading the editorial development of the paper’s US edition. During her nearly 20 years at the publication, she has served as capital markets editor, deputy editor of the Lex column, Tokyo bureau chief, and a reporter in London. She is the best-selling author of Fool’s Gold: How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream, Shattered Global Markets and Unleashed a Catastrophe and Saving the Sun: A Wall Street Gamble to Rescue Japan from Its Trillion-Dollar Meltdown. We talked to Gillian about the problems with the global economy and why a market crisis may be needed to force change in Washington.
9. Vivian Schiller: Vivian has been the new chief digital offer for NBC News since June, and previously worked as the CEO of NPR, senior vice president of NYTimes.com, and general manager of Discovery Times Channel. In 2009, Washingtonian magazine named Schiller one of the District of Columbia’s 100 most powerful women. “Here, I feel like I can bring together my understanding and my love of television news and the power of it together with what’s happening in the digital world,” Schiller says of her new digital post at NBC. She is working with her colleagues at NBC News and their digital properties “to make it as successful and relevant on all platforms as it is on television” and delivering news as a more “immersive experience” and to “make the important interesting.”
10. Pete Cashmore @mashable and petecashmore: Pete is the CEO of Mashable.com, a digital, social media and technology blog that has been recognized as a must-read site by Fast Company and PC Magazine and is considered the most influential media outlet by Klout. Cashmore has been named one of Ad Age’s 2011 influencers, a Forbes magazine web celeb 25 and a Briton of the year by the Telegraph in 2010. He is also a World Economic Forum 2011 Young Global Leader. He talked to genConnect about whether social media is good for journalism. “Where social media is hugely beneficial is … firstly on the information-gathering side,” he said, and on the distribution side, breaking news can break much faster via Twitter and other social media sites. And on whether editors are a dying breed, Cashmore says: “I think it’s more important these days than ever to have editors, because we have an overload of information.”
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