In the last week Creative Communications students have heard two powerful Canadian journalists argue for opposing visions of the future.
Margo Goodhand, editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, told students on Oct. 21 that the iPad will save newspapers, including hers. She has asked for an iPad for Christmas, by which time she hopes her newspaper will be available on it.
But on Oct. 26 Dawna Friesen, television anchor of Global National, pooh-poohed the whole social media thing.
The Free Press is moving somewhat cautiously into the world of online journalism. Readership of its website is growing, particularly for big news stories such as last weekend’s double killing in the city. With circulation of the dead-trees edition slowly sinking, online is the obvious way to go.
Goodhand’s vision involves the withering away of the newspaper into just two departments, news and advertising. No more presses, no more trucks.
Friesen, who described herself as an “old fart” and “dinosaur,” is much cooler on this newfangled stuff, especially Twitter and blogging.
Her bosses want her to tweet, she reported. Hmm … that’s often a strong hint of the proper course of action. But her most recent tweet was almost three weeks old.
"What am I supposed to say?” Nobody would be interested that she just had a coffee, she told us.
After some love-bombing by students, who are required to maintain a Twitter feed and a blog, Friesen acknowledged that maybe she should give social media another chance.
Sure enough, within a couple of hours she tweeted three times, including once about being hungry for a cinnamon bun.
Good on her for trying it again. Let’s follow her Twitter feed to see how she keeps it up.
Goodhand does not tweet but her newspaper is quite active on Twitter. And it is experimenting with online delivery, including a surprisingly addictive live streaming traffic cam at one of Winnipeg’s contentious new traffic circles.
From my online consumption of journalism I would say that many newspapers and magazines are moving online faster than broadcasters, with notable exceptions such as BBC and CBC.
The old farts and dinosaurs need to catch up with the students.