Hawthorne Strategy Group panel explores the impact of the changing media environment.
Wednesday, May 25th marked Hawthorne’s third panel discussion, and it was undoubtedly a thrilling one. Two months after hosting a panel about women in leadership, Hawthorne invited 5 esteemed professionals in the field of media to discuss its evolving landscape. Our CEO, Gene Reineke, moderated a fascinating panel discussion featuring: Kendra Chaplin, founder of Chicago Woman Magazine; Shia Kapos, columnist formerly with Crain’s Chicago Business; Cody Lagrow, anchor and producer for streaming news service, Newsy; Scott Nations, trader and CNBC on-air contributor; and Dometi Pongo, anchor for WVON radio. The discussion focused on the future of media as our reliance on technology continues to impact how we all consume it. Near the end, the audience seized an opportunity for a Q&A.
Social Media’s Rise as a Widely Used News Source
The panelists acknowledged that social media continues to play a larger role in how society consumes their news. Although this has created a much more customizable and easily accessible news source, it’s also created a possible issue that restricts the views and perspectives of sources we may not personally agree with.
“As a consumer of media, it’s actually a way for you to build your own news feed.” – Scott
“The stories that show up to you on Facebook, are catered to you by Facebook.” – Cody
Changes to the Newsroom
The panelists brought up the fact that newsrooms continue to shrink as online reporting become increasingly prevalent. That being said, Kendra stressed the significance of focusing on multiple channels, including social media AND print, in order to reach one’s audience.
“Since news rooms are cutting their workforce, they don’t have the resources that they used to have to dig deep into a lot of these stories.” – Dometi
“Every media outlet is crushed right now when it comes to profitability.” – Scott
“People have a much more intimate connection to print, as opposed to online.” – Kendra
“The Evolution of technology and how we consume it, is in my opinion the biggest challenge for publishers.” – Kendra
Media’s Shift from Facts to Opinion and Analysis
Gene made the observation that many media sources are beginning to focus more on opinion and analysis, as opposed to stating just the facts. The panelists were split on this topic as Shia placed responsibility on the reader, Dometi recognized the shift, while Scott opposed the idea.
“It’s up to the reader to figure out what they’re reading, and to know what the difference is between opinion and a news story.” – Shia
“News outlets are beginning to wonder, can you become more profitable if you shift towards analysis and opinion based, more sensationalized television.” – Dometi
“I think the bulk of mainstream media actually doesn’t have the time anymore to do the sort of analysis you might be suggesting they do… I see even less of that, [Opinion and Analysis] than what I saw 20 years ago.” – Scott
Politics on Facebook
Politics are discussed all over social media. The panelists provided their views on this matter as the millennial generation especially, continues to rely on social media platforms for their political news. All panelist agreed that it’s important for readers to be aware of the sources of their online content.
“If the Sun Times is sharing a political story on Facebook, is that bad? No. Hopefully readers are savvy enough that they know who is presenting the content.” –Shia
“If you’re trying to get a point across about politics, I think there are lots of places to do it even online and across social media, Facebook would not be it. – Scott
The audience was eager to engage the panel and were able to take advantage of the opportunity by addressing the challenges of attracting new readers to news sources, dealing with the rise and fall of social media platforms, finding ways to become established on new social media platforms and features, and the struggle of engaging with commenters.
Hawthorne's next event will be on June 28 and feature a panel discussion around Corporate Reputation: What Does It Take to Build and Maintain a Good Reputation. Register here to reserve your spot today!