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Mar 28th
Home Columns JGL Eye Media Business Paradigm, Still a Work in Progress
Media Business Paradigm, Still a Work in Progress PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - JGL Eye
Saturday, 20 August 2011 15:56


JGL Eye Column


(© 2011 Journal Group Link International)

D ETROIT, Michigan (jGLi) – For three days last week, Asian-American journalists attended their 22nd annual convention in Detroit, Michigan, to update themselves with the latest developments in the industry in the face of the crippling economic meltdown. But it seems, many of them will be re-tooling themselves with new marketable skills just to survive.


While some industry leaders are still trying to absorb the impact of the Internet, they seem to agree that a new sustainable business model is still a work in progress.


Multi-platform reporter Victoria Lim of Bright House Sports Network was telling workshop participants that when her former employer was encouraging her fellow reporters to learn additional skills in still photography and videography, those who embraced the new skills are still on the job. But those who refused to diversify were let go.


“Since I want myself to be read in print, to be watched on TV and to be surfed online, I just loved the transition,” according to Ms. Lim, a former senior consumer reporter for WFLA-TV, the Tampa Tribune and, nicknamed the “Queen of Convergence” and award-winning and pioneering multi-platform, multimedia reporter.


When this columnist asked her if her multi-tasking effort is being rewarded with additional paycheck, she demurred, saying, “I’ll have to ask my boss about it.”


Another workshop (Visual Storytelling III) speaker, Kathy Kieliszewki, deputy director of photo & video of the Detroit Free Press, said, “Everybody is doing everything now. Photographers are getting stories. Reporters are becoming photographers. Even our editor was taking photos on assignments when we have a gap. And a gap filler, who becomes an expert in that gap will always get the leads.


“It is hard to be on top of the game during newsroom transitioning and hopefully, everybody will do it well. A lot of those embraced it (transitioning) as we move forward with union shop, pay scale, etc.”




As to “citizen journalists” contributing photos to newspapers, Ms. Kieliszewki said on rare occasion if someone will pitch in a photo, like a flipping boat over the Detroit River that was compelling to use, she would still pay a freelancer for the photo.


But Torey Malatia, president & CEO, Chicago Public Media, one of the presenters in the workshop, “The Future of Journalism: Is Journalism a Sustainable Business Model?,” told me there is really no paycheck for citizen journalists. But publication of their contribution is incentive enough and that they were thanked for it. “We show are respect to contributors by calling them and suggesting to them if they can take the shots differently. And we usually verify the source before we publish them.”


For his part, Marcus Brauchli, executive editor of The Washington Post, told me that while citizen journalism is being encouraged so they can submit video, photo and comments, there is no pay waiting for these contributors.


Mr. Brauchli does not know if print media will be charging for contents. “I don’t know any model right now.”




B ut he said they are watching other members in the industry, like The New York Times, which is charging for its content. “Right now we are the largest free news outlet in America and we want people reading our contents and our traffic is the greatest. We certainly benefit from Facebook and other social media.”


Janet Mason, president & general manager, WZZM 13/Gannett, another panelist, said for media to sustain the interest of their readers or listeners they have to approach things differently, citing ABC’s segment by Diane Sawyer, “Made in America.” It shows a home owner taking stuff out in his front yard if they are not made in America. It turned out every single stuff were brought out of the house.


To gain credibility of general managers doing commentary in their TV programs they should only discuss topics that are of their expertise. And citizen journalism shooting video will be an interesting feature of some newscast since they bring new perspective to listeners and readers not available to the media staff.


“If you give audience good local content and there is no competition, readers will be willing to pay. But if you are just regurgitating the news from the competition, then, there is no money waiting for any outlet,” Ms. Mason added. # # #


Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at: (



Last Updated on Monday, 29 August 2011 03:34

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