A media expert discussed the future of news and the need to “think crazy” to understand the changing industry, as part of the Must See Monday speaker series.
Eric Newton, the senior adviser to the president of the Knight Foundation, gave a quirky and technology-filled presentation Monday night about the changes the news industry could undergo over the next 100 years.
“Every American generation grows up with a different form of media,” Newton said to a large crowd of students and community members.
Using graphs and images to depict the history and development of the news, Newton said the concept of time is incredibly complex and it is inappropriate to base the future simply off of what we know now.
“We get the future wrong because we don’t see the cyclone of things happening around us,” he said.
Encouraging audience members to be innovative with their ideas of the future, Newton gave advice on how to prepare for the evolution of news.
“The first principle of predicting the future is to think crazy,” Newton said. “Not just out of the box crazy, but off the planet crazy.”
New forms of media are always developing because of the constantly changing face of media and the cyclic nature of crises occurring in the country, Newton said. Along with the more powerful and tech-savvy media comes what Newton calls “World War 3.0,” which is the beginning of a transparent war in cyberspace.
“This country does tend to win wars, and wars can cause unity — news institutions and societies emerge stronger than they were before,” Newton said.
Regarding the progression to intelligent media, Newton said all forms of news will possess a virtual core.
“In time you’ll be able to experience any event, anywhere on the planet, as though you were there,” Newton said.
Leading up to the event, Cronkite School Dean and Downtown Vice Provost Christopher Callahan encouraged all journalism students to attend Newton’s presentation because of its relevance to their own futures in the journalism industry.
“Newton is really a true thought leader in journalism,” Callahan said. “He understands the past of journalism and where we’re going in the future better than anybody I know.”
Kyle Renick, a print journalism sophomore, agreed that thinking “crazy” may be the key to discovering what lies in the future.
“He has a lot of experience in understanding what the future of journalism is going to be like, and as a journalist it’s important to know what I’m going to have to experience,” Renick said.
Journalism freshman Whitney Ogden said she attended the event because of her interest in Newton’s views.
“Technology is progressing so quickly and there’s no way to get away from it,” Ogden said. “You have to go right into it, and you have to adjust to the new types of technology.”
Newton emphasized how in this current form of media, we are merely just beginning to discover the essence of the digital age.
“To get to this future, someone’s got to shape it,” Newton said. “That gets to be you.”
Contact the reporter at email@example.com