On October 17th, the US-Asia Institute was pleased to host seventeen press officers and news reporters from the Anhui Province Publicity Office in conjunction with Forte International, a professional exchange non-profit. The Anhui delegation visited Washington, D.C. to better understand the amalgamation of traditional and digital media in the United States. To further the delegation comprehension of this important issue, the Institute arranged for a discussion on the transformation of traditional media. A range of experts were impaneled to present their views on the issue and respond to the delegates’ questions.
Matt Jorgenson – a former strategic communications advisor to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senator Barbara Boxer, and Senator Barbara Mikulski – moderated the panel. Jim Parenti, Senior Advisor to the President, Niels Lesniewski, Senior Writer for CQ and Roll Call, and Kasey O’Brien, digital strategist for SKDKnickerbocker offered their insight into the inner workings of American media.
The panel opened the briefing by emphasizing the new necessity for communication and media organizations to have digital strategies. The Internet revolution, the panel stated, has fundamentally the manner in which media is produced, distributed, and consumed by the public. This has placed great stresses on journalists, as a premium is placed on instantaneously reported news, rather than crafting accurate and nuanced stories. Press officers, too, find themselves in less control of how stories are written. Rapid deadlines prevent press officers from forming the personal relationships with reporters that have traditionally allowed for more input from press officers and the printing of more equitable stories. Social media has also facilitated the transition from print to digital media. In the United States, the panel noted, a significant number of Americans receive their news from Facebook or Twitter. News distribution was never an intended core function of these social media platforms. The panel closed by highlighting Congress’ current effort to review Google’s, Facebook’s, and Twitter’s operating procedures.
The Institute was pleased to host the delegation from Anhui Province, and we look forward to observing the journalistic work the delegation’s members do in the future.