At a crossroads between an analog past and a digital future, the journalism industry has been changing immensely. But with layoffs at traditional outlets and the onslaught of “citizen-journalists,” the question remains where the industry is heading now.
“The Future of Journalism” panel at American River College intended to answer what was in store for aspiring journalists. The Oct. 29 panel started at 2 p.m. in the ARC theatre and featured panelists from different professional media outlets.
Jeffery Callison, the host of Insight on Capital Public Radio, Chris Macias, Sacramento Bee’s Food and Wine writer, Cody Kitaura, editor of Rosemont’s Patch.com, and Evan Wright, author of Generation Kill and contributing editor to Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair magazines, discussed the skills necessary to be a journalist and how to adjust to the transforming trade. Tim Swanson, professor and journalism department chair at ARC, moderated the panel.
As far as the future, the panelists seemed to have no fear. Callison said he is optimistic about the future and does not worry about journalism fading away. He gave the example of the Bee’s surviving the Great Depression, “Nothing ever gets put out of business; it just adapts.”
Social networking, along with video and audio are playing a major part in how the news and information is put out into the world. The panelists urged people looking into becoming journalists to learn how to use them.
Some may worry that these new technologies will lessen the credibility of professional journalists, but Macias stated that people could write whatever they want.
“It always comes down to how good is the information,” Macias said.
The event ended with a question and answer period where the featured guests talked with the audience. Student Cara Lanchance, a journalism major who attends Sacramento City College, came to hear the presentation.
“I thought it was pretty informative considering what’s happening with the digital age and what journalism used to be,” Lachance said. “Each panelist had a different perspective on the digital age and how journalism is changing.”
Despite the need for journalists to be multi-faceted in all news aspects of social-media, photography and tweeting their stories to stay up-to-date and current—all four gentlemen expressed one resounding notion for all new writers.
“Reporting is a skill,” Macias said. “ Good reporters need just paper and a pen.”