Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pigeons Don't Break News

Back in medieval times, my ancestors would win battles, write a note about the victory, strap it to the leg of a carrier pigeon and thereby let their cousins miles away know the news.

Please note: the pigeon DID NOT break the news; the person did.

Bring that forward to today; Twitter does not break news. People do!

So, I agreed with Mark Evans at last night's event -- the "Future Of Media" roundtable hosted by Digital Journal -- when he alluded to the fact that we should all get off the "Twitter is better than sliced bread" bandwagon, and see it for what it is: a tool for communication.

The panel consisted of Elmer Sotto, Head of Growth for Facebook Canada; Anjali Kapoor, Managing Editor of the Globe and Mail Digital; David Skok, Senior Producer of Online Content for Global News; Kunal Gupta, CEO of Polar Mobile; and Mark Evans, a digital marketing and social media strategist.

The moderator did a good job of keeping the conversation going, but I would have liked to have heard more about the participants' predictions of where things are going, rather than what they have all done so far. It was about the future, after all.

Anjali Kapoor commented [and please correct me if wrong, AK] that if a journalism grad comes equipped with the ability to use multimedia platforms, analytics skills and a knowledge of Google Maps, they have more chance of getting work. I ask: what about the ability to actually get the facts right, have decent grammar skills and know how to spell? Again, we should not lose sight of the fact that all these shiny new channels, mediums and outlets are just convenient ways of imparting the news to a target audience.

At one of the process is a human being, and at the other end of the process is another human being. It's simple. The media of today -- and the future -- still needs to be trained in finding out what is going on, where, why, when and with who. Not trying to be first to squash all that into 140 characters or less just to "be first."

Like someone else said last night (David Skok, I think): "Bill Cosby has died five times already on Twitter."

The media of the future will have increasing opportunities to reach their audience in various and fantastic (read: unimaginable right now) ways. They will break the news, not the tools they use.

Side note: Some of my friends I think you should connect with for their smarts: JP Fozo, Jon Gauthier and Karim Kanji.

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