April 27, 2010

Paths to the new journalism

The future of journalism will be more social & entrepreneurial

JD LasicaWith the business models of traditional news media in free fall, it’s a precarious time for journalism. Earlier this month I did an hourlong video chat with a class of journalism students at the USC Annenberg School and told them how much I admired their willingness to tackle journalism as a career even as everything we know about journalism and news is changing.

On Friday I gave a talk at NewComm Forum (NewComm as in New Communications), the annual gathering of communications, marketing, PR and new media thinkers in San Mateo, Calif. You’ll find it on Slideshare.net (embedded above) under the title, “Social and Entrepreneurial: The paths to the new journalism.”

Everything about news and journalism is changing: the way it’s produced, the way it’s distributed, the way we consume it, the idea of who’s a trusted news provider, the conventions of journalism and what “news” itself means.

Jour­nal­ism is being rein­vig­o­rated by a new gen­er­a­tion of jour­nal­ists and pub­li­ca­tions, many of them small but deeply pas­sion­ate about the top­ics they cover.

As someone who still practices journalism (see: this blog) but left newspaper journalism in the late ’90s, my work as a social media strategist and years in Silicon Valley startups leave me saddened about the fate of newspapers — I estimate that 500 daily newspapers, most of them mid-size metros, will go out of business in the next five years. At the same time, journalism is being reinvigorated by a new generation of journalists and publications, many of them small but deeply passionate about the topics they cover.

They’ll be the ones who give shape to the new new news.

You’ll notice that the title of this post refers to “paths,” because the future will involve thousands of experiments and brave new ways of doing journalism, far from the one-size-fits-all era that is now ending (go to J-school, start out at a local daily, join a bigger metro newspaper, etc.). Continue reading

April 22, 2010

Pandora’s love-filled journey to dominance

Tim Westergren, founder and CEO of Pandora (photo taken with my video camera).


And other highlights of NewComm Forum 2010

JD LasicaI‘ve been spending the week at NewComm Forum, the annual gathering of communications, marketing, PR and new media thinkers and doers in San Mateo, Calif. I now have years of distance from the newspaper industry and so am offering my take on where the journalism landscape is heading in an hourlong talk on Friday morning — I’ll post it here next week.

Here’s a recap of some random bits of NewComm that I’ve caught:

Dave Carroll - Photo by Shel Israel

Great keynote presentations! Dave Carroll gave a lunchtime talk about United Airlines’ blunders after its baggage handlers damaged his guitar, resulting, of course, in United Breaks Guitars and tons of opportunities for Dave to educate corporations about how to treat customers with respect. After his talk, I pulled Dave aside and got a great video interview, which I’ll post soon.

The highlight for me, so far, was the keynote by Tim Westergren, founder and CEO of Pandora, the streaming media service he founded more than 10 years ago (!) in January 2000 in Oakland. Pandora by the numbers:

• 50 million listeners, with 85,000 new users per day — entirely by word of mouth
• nearly 6 billion thumbs up or thumbs downs (“People love to thumb [up or down] on Pandora!”)
• 85,000 artists — 70 percent of them independent artists (“so the bulk of our catalog is the working musician”)
• It’s on 92 devices.

Pandora is at the forefront of the transition in the radio universe from mass broadcast radio, with one playlist that reaches hundreds of thousands of listeners, to unicast, where you can stream individual stations to each listener over the Internet. “The problem is you can’t have millions of DJs,” which is where the Music Genome Project comes in (the site says: “Moving entertainment from a mass-market service to a one-on-one interactive experience”).

And while “dominance” is probably too strong a word for a company that nearly went out of business three summers ago, Pandora is certainly well positioned now to ride the wave of personalized Internet radio. Continue reading

April 5, 2010

Come to NewComm Forum! Here’s your discount

JD LasicaIn 18 days I’ll be at NewComm Forum in San Mateo, Calif., to give a talk on the paths to tomorrow’s journalism. I’m also looking forward to participating in workshops, interactive sessions and discussions around social marketing and social media.

NewComm Forum, sponsored by the Society for New Communications Research (I’m a senior fellow), is one of the best social media gatherings anywhere. It runs April 21-23, with workshops on April 20 (use discount code NCFW100 to save $100).

If you work in communication, marketing or new media, you should come! And now Socialmedia.biz readers can get a special discount:

• Attend the entire four-day event for $995 with this $500 discount code: NCF500

• You can come for one day, April 21, for $395 with this discount code: NCF1D (details below)

“The Social Web – Redefining Business” will be this year’s theme. NewComm will feature a who’s who of social media experts and practitioners from leading companies presenting 40 sessions in five comprehensive tracks:

  • Online Communications & Communities
  • Social CRM
  • Markets are Conversations: From Theory to Practice
  • Understanding the New Media Landscape
  • NewComm Essentials

Keynoters include:

Continue reading

February 22, 2010

Discount for NewComm Forum attendees

Shel Israel & Laura Fitton
Shel Israel and Laura Fitton at NewComm 2009m (photo (cc) by Kenneth Yeung)

JD LasicaI‘ve been a senior fellow with the nonprofit Society for New Communications Research since shortly after it was founded about 6 years ago and always look forward to the NewComm Forum it holds each spring in Northern California and fall in Boston/Cambridge.

SNCR has just announced the lineup for the next NewComm Forum and is offering a discount to readers of Socialmedia.biz. I’ll also be giving an hourlong presentation on New Paths for Journalism. Details:

What: NewComm Forum, the premier conference focused on helping communications professionals to leverage the power of the social web. Founding fellow Shel Holtz calls it the best event of its kind.

When/where: April 20-23, 2010, San Mateo, Calif.

Theme: The Social Web – Redefining Business

Discount code: NCF133 gets you a $100 discount, plus an additional $200 early bird discount if you register by March 12. Register on this page.

My session: Entrepreneurial journalism: Next year’s media model today
Friday, April 23 at 10:15am

Story after story proclaims a crisis in U.S. journalism, as major news organizations appear on the brink of bankruptcy and the public is left wondering who’ll be left to cover the news. J.D. Lasica, a journalist and social media consultant, argues that a solution can be found not in propping up existing news institutions but in making way for a new generation of
entrepreneurial news gatherers who marry the best of journalism with the dynamic, connective abilities of social media. Continue reading