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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    The Changing Times: Kinsey Wilson Speaks on the Internet News Revolution

    Stony Brook’s School of Journalism offered its last ‘My Life As’hellip;’ lecture last Tuesday, April 24 by Executive Editor of USA Today, Kinsey Wilson. In today’s digitalized world, the internet is changing the means of communication with its ability to spread mass information, raw data and public interaction.

    This internet revolution is creating a ripple in the media world, which is also affecting the structure and function of several news organizations and journalist endeavors. Wilson used USA Today as an example of the possible transition of mass media into the digital world. His lecture focused on how the internet is changing the organization of the mass media and how many newspapers are dealing with this change.


    Wilson
    was a reporter for Newsday before he left to join Congressional Quarterly in 1995. His strong belief was in the possible future of the internet and its effect on media organizations. Wilson quickly distinguished himself and became the Vice President and Editor-in-Chief for USAToday.com before the organization combined its online and print newsrooms.

    Based on his experience, Wilson emphasized that at the end of the day, ‘it is still very much about the story,’ and that running a newspaper is similar to ‘driving on the NASCAR circuit.’

    One example that Wilson used to illustrate this change was when he showed several videos in reference to the recent video made to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The video used George Orwell’s book, ‘1984,’ as the theme to the video based on a commercial made by Apple in the early 1990s. Made by a Barack Obama supporter, this video was an example of how the internet has changed the landscape of media by allowing individuals to become their own publishers and achieve mass distribution.

    In the past, political and other organizations needed newspapers and large outlets to spread their message across such a large population. This is no longer the case as demonstrated by the 1984 Hilary Clinton video that circulated to over 3 million people within a few days after it was posted on YouTube, a website that allows anyone with a free registered account to post a video.

    According to Wilson, although this form of communication and distribution is still basic and immature, there is a clear indication of where things are going and how ‘media is something anybody can practice.’ In addition, competition is arising in the form of other websites that also purport to having the same credible information.

    This competition and changing market has affected many news organizations, often resulting in more layoffs in print and broadcast. Reporters’ skills have increasingly been focusing on audience response as blogs have revolutionized audience and reporter relationships. PopCandy is an example of a blog that has been able to attract the audience in large numbers that was not possible before the formation of the blogs. This has changed the relationship between mass media and the public.

    According to Wilson, while the mass media was able to monopolize and control what information was getting to the public by maintaining the hold on distribution, newspapers could afford ‘to be broad and somewhat uneven in terms of the content.’ Now the internet has illustrated how anyone can amass, remodel and distribute information.

    According to Wilson, this is the fundamental shift as mass media organizations have realized the increasingly importance of content.

    In addition, the advent of blogs has changed the interface of newsrooms as more roles and opportunities have risen for the journalist with ‘untraditional’ skills. For those willing to take risks, Wilson emphasized the enormous opportunities that await these people. In addition, the conventional idea of ‘working your way up,’ is no longer the only tune for journalists to follow to.

    ‘You win some, you lose some’hellip;but day in and day out, you keep racing. There are a few spectacular crashes, but you get the job done,’ said Wilson in reference to the journalistic experience. Technology is changing the landscape of the mass media and newspaper organizations have been adapting to these changes by restructuring newsrooms and focusing more on online news.

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