Media panel discusses future of industry

"Getting students ready for new media was the focus of this year’s Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit on Thursday, Oct. 14.

"A panel of four industry leaders and innovators led by a moderator shed light on the changing nature of print and broadcast media in the digital age.

"The panel included Vicki Betihavas, a producer who specializes in 3-D broadcasts; Andy Carvin, a senor strategist working on social media with NPR; Jon Landis, a sociologist working with Apple Inc. and Michael Cassidy, an Oswego State graduate and president of an online advertising network.

"Albany-area television anchor Benita Zahn, also an alumna, moderated the discussion, which focused on how Facebook, Google and other digital producers are transforming the way people interact with media.

""It was fabulous," Zahn said in an interview after the summit. "The panel had a broad range of experience but the discussion dove-tailed beautifully around social media. It was the spoke they came together around."

"Questions of ethics surrounded the talk of new media. The panel was asked about the self-correcting nature of inaccuracies made when the consumer of media content is also its producer. Two examples often cited were Wikipedia and Twitter, which have been vulnerable to hoaxes and misinformation.

"The Panel was split, with Carvin arguing that new media is adequate in quickly correcting such lapses. Others, such as Betihavas, said they were more concerned about increase unedited content and the impact on viewers.

"Landis referenced recent studies showing Wikipedia to be more accurate than the printed Encyclopedia Britannica—he said this was evidence of the new paradigm.

"Landis also discussed his concern with the pervasive nature of new media. Specifically, he cited "sexting," or texting sexual content, as well as sending explicit photos through cell phone. Landis noted that it is not the children and teens that have evolved in their relationship to sexual content, it’s the technology and the accessibility makes is the difference.

""Kids aren’t any different then they were 10 or 50 years ago," Landis said. "We’ve just gave them more powerful tools, but haven’t given them any training… There need to be more people out there shepherding them."

"Students attending the summit said they were impressed by the presentation.

""It was very insightful," said David Lance, a cinema and screen studies major. "Students asked great questions and the panel gave good feedback."

"This was Oswego State’s sixth annual Media Summit. It was started in 2005 by a large donation from alumnus Louis A. Borrelli. In 2007, after receiving another sizable endowment from Al Roker, the summit was renamed for the late Dr. Lewis B. O’Donnell, a long-time professor in the communications department.

"