Posts Tagged ‘future of media’

Future of Media Preview: A Q&A with journalist Mathew Ingram

April 3rd, 2011

Mathew Ingram is speaking at Digital Journal's Future of Media event April 6 in Toronto.

Mathew Ingram, senior writer of technology blog network GigaOM, talks about the changing media landscape and offers some simple advice. Ingram will be speaking about journalism at Digital Journal’s Future of Media event on April 6.

Mathew Ingram is an award-winning journalist who has spent the past 15 years writing about business, technology and new media as a reporter, columnist and blogger. He is currently a senior writer with the technology blog network GigaOM.

Prior to joining GigaOM, Ingram was a blogger and technology writer for the Globe and Mail newspaper, and was also the paper’s first online Communities Editor, where he helped the paper learn about and appreciate the benefits of social media tools.

In a Q&A with Digital Journal, Ingram offers some straight-up advice for media outlets and talks about the differences between working for a big media company and a small start-up.

This Q&A is part of a 5-day series with media leaders who will be speaking at Digital Journal’s Future of Media event which takes place April 6 at the Drake Hotel Underground in Toronto. Check back each day for a Q&A with other media leaders from the BBC, National Post and CTV. Part 1: An interview with OpenFile Editor Kathy Vey

Digital Journal: To make it as a journalist today, what core skills do you need? What core skills will you need in the years ahead?

Mathew Ingram: I think the skills you need are mostly the same as journalists have always needed — curiosity, intelligence, the ability to analyze things quickly, interviewing skills, a good BS detector, and so on.

But on top of that, I think the Web and social media require journalists to learn new skills as well, ones they aren’t always that good at, including how to listen to readers — even when you don’t want to — how to respond, how to share, how to link, aggregate and “curate” to use an overused word.

Digital Journal:You’ve worked for big media (The Globe & Mail), and for independent media/start-up (GigaOM). How have the experiences been different and what does one teach you that the other can’t?

Mathew Ingram: The two couldn’t really be more different, in pretty much every way — the Globe is a huge organization, and the main part of that is a newspaper, although I worked for the web side mostly. People routinely write one thing a day, or sometimes one or two things a week.

GigaOM and other Web-native publications are tiny startups with very few people, no print at all, and most of the writers are doing three or four or five posts a day.

So at the Globe I learned most of the traditional things that journalists learn — how to report and file in newspaper style, how to work with different editors, and so on.

At GigaOM and through my own blogging and social-media use, I’ve learned how to be fast and how to link and how to be part of a community.

Digital Journal: When it comes to changing media, what medium do you think is likely to change the most in the next year or two? Why?

Mathew Ingram: I think they are all changing, but print is in the hot seat more than anything, simply because the business models for many print publications are continuing to disintegrate, and there aren’t a whole lot of obvious solutions to that problem.

Digital Journal: What revenue channels beyond advertising do you think we’ll see become more prevalent in the digital media space?

Mathew Ingram: We’re probably going to see more newspapers and other publications and media outlets try pay walls and subscription models, and possibly new kinds of advertising relationships. What is out there right now just isn’t working. But I think pay walls, as they are currently configured, are a waste of time.

Digital Journal: What do you think makes a good “digital-first” strategy for a media company, and should modern media businesses approach with a digital-first mindset?

Mathew Ingram: I think “digital first” means exactly what it says — the Web and mobile and other real-time options become the primary publishing vehicle, and print or whatever becomes secondary. The problem with doing that at most traditional newspapers is that they still rely on print for the bulk of their advertising revenue, and that still drives the bus — not just administratively but psychologically.

I definitely think more should approach it the way that John Paton at the Journal Register Co. has — digital first, and let the digital folks run things.

Digital Journal: How should media organizations collaborate or compete with start-ups in the media space?

Mathew Ingram: I think co-operation and partnerships are essential when you’re in a time of great upheaval the way we are right now in media because you don’t know what the best opportunities might be, or where they might lie, and you can’t afford to try everything.

Digital Journal: Beyond Facebook and Twitter, what start-up(s) do you think could become stand-outs in the world of media?

Mathew Ingram: I think the community model that Quora and some other sites are taking could become very interesting. They aren’t really media right now, but they are playing an interesting role. And so are WikiLeaks and all of the similar sites that have popped up — that could be and has been very disruptive already.

Digital Journal: How will rapid and significant changes in digital media over the last few years affect the average person at home in the years to come?

Mathew Ingram: I don’t think it’s going to be that dramatic for most people — they are probably just going to notice, as many have already, that they are reading fewer newspapers and listening to the radio less and probably watching less TV as well. They are getting more and more of their news and other content from the Web and from social networks and other sites that pull content from everywhere and give it to them in the way they want it.

Future of Media Preview: A Q&A with OpenFile Editor Kathy Vey

April 2nd, 2011

Kathy Vey, Editor-in-Chief of OpenFile, is speaking at Digital Journal's Future of Media event April 6 in Toronto.

How can a lean start-up survive in a busy media market? Kathy Vey, editor of community news site OpenFile, divulges her online recipe for journalistic success, days before she speaks on the topic at Digital Journal’s Future of Media event on April 6.

OpenFile is a collaborative news site, allowing members to suggest stories for trusted reporters to cover. It covers stories the legacy media might not pursue, but where does it fit in a crowded marketplace?

In a Q&A with Digital Journal, OpenFile editor Kathy Vey talks about the challenges her outlet faces and where she sees it fitting in the coming years.

Vey’s venture into online news is a broad step away from her print days. She worked at the Toronto Star as deputy city editor, news editor, assistant national editor, restaurant critic, among many positions. She’s also worked for the Ottawa Citizen, the Toronto Sun and wrote for Canadian Gardening magazine.

This Q&A is part of a 5-day series with media leaders who will be speaking at Digital Journal’s Future of Media event which takes place April 6 at the Drake Hotel Underground in Toronto. Check back each day for a Q&A with other media leaders from the BBC, National Post, CTV and GigaOM.

Digital Journal: Journalism via the mainstream media is still very much about one reporter telling a story. How can collaborative journalism change a story and how can media organizations incorporate collaboration into their businesses?

Kathy Vey: We’ve had success appealing directly to readers for story ideas and asking them about angles to pursue after we’ve done the initial reporting.

One example was the 204 Beech file, a story that was initially about a city councillor’s attempt to prevent a Toronto family from tearing down a 100-year-old cottage in order to build a wheelchair-accessible home. It drew an enormous number of comments and evolved into a lively debate about heritage issues, property rights, disability rights, social media campaigning, political meddling — all sorts of interesting angles.

The original file was opened by the homeowner’s business partner, and the people who took part in the ensuing discussion were usually upfront about their stake in the issue. Many chose to use a real name rather than a pseudonym. I had to kill only one abusive comment, which came from a lawyer who lived nearby. I offered him the opportunity to tone down his libellous remarks or to sign his real name to the comment. He declined.

I’d like to see more media outlets address the nasty free-for-all in their comment sections. Moderation is expensive and time-consuming but it’s valuable if you can create a reasonably civil forum that doesn’t make your eyes bleed. There’s no point trying to add something constructive to the conversation if it’s already a shouting match.

I can’t think of any local media outlets that encourage their journalists to respond to commenters — something that we insist on at OpenFile.

Some media organizations are already exploring ways to collaborate. CBC News, for instance, is asking for readers and viewers to weigh in with their federal election questions and they’re also signing up citizen bloggers to contribute to Your Take.

Digital Journal: You’ve worked for big media (Toronto Star), and for independent media/start-up (OpenFile). How have the experiences been different and what does one teach you that the other can’t?

Kathy Vey: I miss the luxury of resources that were available to me at a big, fat corporation — the library staffed with helpful researchers, the online databases, the automated payroll, the dental plan. Your calls typically get returned more quickly, too, when you’re phoning from the Toronto Star rather than from a small operation. I also learned that it’s much easier to be a bad, feared boss than one who’s respected and will be missed when he or she is gone.

I wish I could give my OpenFile editors, who are spread out in seven cities across the country, the experience of the camaraderie that exists in a newsroom, even the newsrooms that have been decimated by downsizing. Mentors seem to be a dying breed, too. We have to find other ways to support one another and strengthen our team, even if it just means having a chat window open in the corner of our computer screens and kibitzing online with our Twitter accounts.

The Toronto Star has an excellent program for summer students and year-long interns that pays them a full salary and provides training and seminars, rather than just dumping them in the biggest newsroom in the country to sink or swim. Competition is fierce, as anyone who has applied will tell you, but it’s a great model to emulate.

At OpenFile, we’ve started a series of what we hope will be monthly webinars that we offer to our editors and freelancers. Our first session was led by Ottawa editor Nick Taylor-Vaisey, who gave an introduction to making interactive maps using Google Fusion Tables.

Digital Journal: The average person at home typically goes out and consumes media via traditional sources or via legacy brands. How can a start-up compete with those habits?

Kathy Vey: Well, I have to disagree with this premise. People are still consuming media produced by legacy brands but they’re increasingly getting it in ways that are anything but traditional. The State of the News Media survey released last month by the Project for Excellence in Journalism had some telling statistics.

In 2010, the percentage of Americans who got most of their news online surpassed the number who got it from newspapers. Most of the newspapers I see people reading on the streetcar are the free commuter tabloids, and I think Sudoku and celebrity photos have more to do with that than the calibre of the news coverage.

We also know that Canadians spend more time online than anyone else, and that people have embraced the idea of having internet access in their pocket or their purse. With a mobile device, you don’t have to wait for the six o’clock newscast to be informed — you can go to the TV stations’ or newspapers’ websites, or to your Twitter feed to catch up with the news whenever you want.

As smartphones become ubiquitous and electronic tablets such as iPads catch on, it makes sense to provide news content in a form that’s convenient for people to consume on the go. That’s a great opportunity for startups.

Digital Journal: Should media organizations take a more collaborative rather than competitive approach with start-ups in the media space? How and why/why not?

Kathy Vey: I’d love to see more collaboration. Our OpenFile Vancouver editor, Karen Pinchin, wrote a blog post last November about “co-opetition,” a word coined by David Beers, founding editor of The Tyee.

She said: “By creating opportunities for excellent journalism within our own organizations, by challenging our colleagues and our competitors to increase the quality, depth and breadth of reporting, and by constantly finding new ways to tell stories and connect with readers, then we’ll be helping the journalism industry citywide…It’s only when we invest in them, throw our weight behind new ones, and create a market where writers, photographers and broadcast freelancers are paid what they’re worth and are comfortable taking risks that we’ll see a real media revolution.”

Also, working with startups enables larger companies to test out new approaches without having to rejig their organization. It’s very tough for big media organizations to innovate and they should approach that challenge by working with smaller organizations that are focused on trying new things. It’s a good match.

Digital Journal: Outside of your own company, what start-ups do you think are making a big difference or impact in the world of media? How so?

Kathy Vey: Many people, including me, had high hopes for, a local news project that launched last summer in Washington, D.C. It was an ambitious, expensive undertaking with some great people in charge — Jim Brady and Steve Buttry — and a genuine focus on community engagement, interactivity and mobile news.

But its owner, Allbritton Communications, pulled the plug on the experiment when it was only six months old, gutting the site and laying off most of this amazing team of young digital journalists who had been brought on board. Last I heard, it was going to become a niche arts and entertainment site.

So instead of being a shining example of a great new venture, TBD has become a dire warning about the dangers of getting into bed with the wrong partner.

Digital Journal: What do you think makes a good “digital-first” strategy for a media company, and should modern media businesses approach with a digital-first mindset?

Kathy Vey: Anything but a digital-first strategy right now would be madness. In a recent speech about the future of the newspaper industry, Lord Conrad Black referred to the “terrible albatrosses” of printing presses and delivery infrastructure. Remember, this is coming from a former press baron. There’s enormous value in newspaper brands and integrity, and in the talent of their staff, but trucking tonnes of newsprint around in the wee hours doesn’t make much sense any more.

Here in Canada, the Postmedia Network has been upfront about being digital-first and has gotten off to a good start by appointing an impressive digital advisory board, with people such as Jay Rosen, Jeff Jarvis and Judy Sims, some of the best thinkers and idea-sparkers in the digital journalism industry. I’m keen to see the effect they’ll have.

Digital Journal announces ‘Future of Media’ event April 6 in Toronto

March 1st, 2011

Future of Media

Digital Journal, a global digital media news network, announced its next Future of Media event featuring some of the most influential leaders in media. The event will take place April 6 and will feature media leaders and experts from the BBC, CTV, National Post, GigaOM and OpenFile.

Future of Media events are panel discussions that explore how current trends, technologies, business practices and social media innovation affect both the media industry and its audience.

The upcoming event will take place Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at the Drake Hotel Underground (1150 Queen Street West) at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and admission is free and open to the public. For more information on admission and to reserve a free ticket, visit this page. Seating is limited.

Topic & Discussion

Future of Media events are a must-see event for anyone interested in the rapidly changing landscape of new media, the Web and journalism. The speakers will discuss some of the biggest challenges the media industry faces today. Topics for this panel discussion include:

  • What can newsrooms learn from tech start-ups? Should media outlets take a more entrepreneurial approach in their day-to-day operations?
  • What can tech start-ups learn from traditional and mainstream media?
  • How are social media, new technology and apps changing media organizations?
  • What impact will social media have on the future of reporting stories such as recent uprisings in the Middle East and Africa?
  • What is the role for mobile devices in the future of media? Will they become the platform of choice for news delivery and media consumption?
  • Where will digital media revenue come from?
  • What technologies, new ideas and business models will be successful and what is just a trend?

These are just a few of the topics to be discussed at the Future of Media event in April. The event will feature a live panel discussion followed by a Q&A session with the audience. Digital Journal will also be taking questions via Facebook and Twitter to pose to panelists. Questions may be submitted at any time between now and April 6.

Speakers & Sponsors is happy to announce an incredible panel of industry leaders at the upcoming Future of Media event. The speakers are:

The Future of Media will be hosted and moderated by Digital Journal. The Platinum sponsor is Queensway Audi, Toronto’s leading Audi dealer. Visit them online at

Gold sponsors include CNW Group, Canada’s leading newswire provider; Suite 66, Canada’s largest independent online advertising sales organization; Polar Mobile, a global leader in mobile content solutions; and Digital Journal, a digital media news network and leader in social news.

Door prizes will be given away in a draw at the event. More info on prizes will be posted here soon.

Future of Media events take place twice each year, around April and September. For more info, interview opportunities or to request a press pass to the event, contact David Silverberg or Chris Hogg by phone at (416) 410-9675 or online here.


Digital Journal announces next Future of Media event: April 6 in Toronto

February 4th, 2011

My company puts on an event twice per year called the Future of Media. Today we made announced the first Future of Media event for 2011 is scheduled to take place at the Drake Hotel in Toronto on April 6. Doors open at 7:30 and the event starts at 8 p.m.

We’ll be announcing more details about speakers, prizes and sponsors in the coming weeks, so save the date. As always, Future of Media events are free of charge and dedicated to following the evolution of journalism, news and media.

If you’re not familiar with Future of Media events, you can learn more on our About Us page, check out past speakers, or watch videos from past events here.

Based on very high demand we’ll be announcing details on how to RSVP for a guaranteed spot on our schedule page. You can bookmark that page, follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to be notified when this page is updated.

See you April 6th! launches website for Future of Media events

October 7th, 2010’s popular speaker series called “Future of Media” now has an official home on the Web. is happy to announce a new site,, features relevant details on the growing event held in downtown Toronto.

The new website caters to fans, attendees, speakers and sponsors of Future of Media events. The site boasts full bios of all past speakers, such as Elmer Sotto from Facebook Canada and Rachel Nixon of CBC News, as well as video wrap-ups and summaries of past events.

“The Future of Media has become so popular we needed to create an online destination to alert readers about upcoming events while also collecting and publishing information about past events,” says Chris Hogg, CEO of “In addition to informing guests about the event, we’ll also be covering developments in new media and traditional news to keep everyone up-to-date with what’s happening in the world of news around them.”

Future of Media events take place in the evening and are free to the public. The events are held semi-annually and are broken into three parts: The events begin with a panel discussion, followed by a live Q&A, and they conclude with network opportunities for guests. For the panel portion, industry leaders and experts discuss a topic relating to where media is heading. Past topics have included citizen journalism, media business models and social media.

Future of Media events attract a wide variety of attendees, from media executives to developers to entrepreneurs to social media junkies. The past two events held at The Drake Hotel in downtown Toronto hit maximum capacity before the doors were even opened.

With its new website for the Future of Media events, aims to inform those interested in media about what’s happening around them. In addition to having information about Future of Media events, the site boasts blog page that will discuss trends in journalism and new media.

In addition to, users can also find info and event updates on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The next Future of Media event is scheduled for March 2011, at a date and venue TBA.