Keynote speaker: Rich Boehne

After lunch we went to see the keynote speaker, Rich Boehne, president and CEO of the E.W. Scripps Company. Boehne opened his speech by discussing how he had to shut down the Rocky Mountain News, leading into a discussion about the future of media and how the suffering economy isn’t helping this period of transition. Boehne said he doesn’t think print and TV media are going anyway, but they are going to have to figure out how to adapt if they want to keep up with the 24/7 updates of the Internet.

But rather than attempting to compete directly with 24/7 online coverage, Boehne said newspapers should emphasize their strengths. He gave two suggestions for how newspapers can do this: by emphasizing quality writing and in-depth reporting consumers can’t get online (though he said this may come at the cost of newspapers no longer being daily) and by covering more local news, placing solid local news on the front page rather than rehashing a national story people read about online a day ago.

He also said instead of feeling threatened by the diversity of information that is available to media consumers now, media professionals should celebrate it. He said while editors may no longer serve as gatekeepers of information, new forms of media allow for a wider reach of information and creativity. And similar to the Entertainment Columnist in the 21st Century speaker, Boehne discussed how media are becoming increasingly fragmented, and their success will have to be measured in terms of more than just circulation and ratings.

-Alexa Milan

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