SEOUL (June 22, 2012) — According to author and Arizona State University Professor Dan Gillmor, everyone is a producer of news — including NGOs and government. This creates a continuum that creates an ecosystem, or a dialog between content-creator and audience, he told the audience at the East-West Center’s International Media Conference. Gillmor, Stephen Quinn, Allan Soon and moderator Amy McCombs of the Missouri School of Journalism, discussed innovation and trends in media.
As the definition of media evolves, it will be important to plant a culture of entrepreneurship in newsrooms for innovation, Gillmor said. However, journalists need to be skeptical about platforms regulated by governments and corporations, which can have a dominating effect when both are working in tandem.
“‘Whether they are getting more from the transaction than you are’ — just ask yourself the question,” Gillmor said.
Stephen Quinn, a Hong Kong-based media consultant and author of several books, asked the audience “Anyone seen someone in China use chopsticks in their left hands?
“You need nonconformity to be innovative.” He said structures such as politics, culture and religion either support or discourage innovation, such as what has occurred in China.
Yet even with its conformist culture that dissuades innovation, China has amazing brainpower from its 1.3 billion people, he said.
Social media has been the focus of reporting coverage, such as in Hong Kong, Quinn said. The South Morning China Post, where Quinn is a consultant, produces half of its stories from social media. Quinn also addressed innovation in India, Indonesia, Malasia, Taiwan, South Korea and the Philippines.
Alan Soon of Singapore-based Yahoo Southeast Asia talked about the lack of recognition for Yahoo as the world’s largest publisher of digital content.
“One of the funny things about a company like Yahoo is that you often don’t think about us when you think about news,” Soon said. When it comes to online traffic, Yahoo outnumbers The New York Times and the Huffington Post, he said.
Soon then talked about three concepts: distribution, discovery and engagement. For distribution, Soon said it’s important to not just distribute content but also ads. For example, he said, “Everyone is looking at mobile phones, but who cares about mobile phone ads?”
As for discovery of content, he said it’s difficult to make content accessible and available with a consistent voice. Engagement, on the other hand, should be “more than page views,” he said.
“We need to build something deeper — a conversation.”
— Reporting by Regina Wang, Missouri School of Journalism