The Internet will change the communications industry drastically, but it will not supplant newspapers, radio and television news, a cable television executive predicted during a presentation to Brigham Young University students Thursday.

"(The Internet) is, today, the single-greatest hope for interactivity in media going into the 21st century," said Steve Rizley, general manager of CableRep Phoenix, Cox Communications' largest programming and media sales company. "That's hard for me to say, having been in cable television for 18 years."Rizley showed students statistics that reveal the Internet already has displaced a significant portion of in-home use of newspapers, broadcast and cable TV, magazines and radio. Despite his prediction that those media would survive the increasing pervasiveness of the Internet, Rizley said the more conventional media must adapt.

It's likely the Internet will be delivered to homes via cable television lines, satellites or other wireless methods instead of the current use of telephone lines, Rizley said. Given the money-making potential of cyberspace, cable companies are very interested in the development of the Internet.

"Everything in the communications world is changing at an increasingly rapid rate," Rizley said.

He said the "no-holds barred" environment and immediacy of the Internet pose unique challenges for journalists concerned about accuracy. Also, many traditional media treat their own online versions as competitors instead of complements.

Nearly all the Web sites maintained by Cox Communications are tied into a newspaper, television or radio station or cable TV operation. Rizley said that in order to be successful, a Web site must receive heavy promotion in other media, as well as draw people in by asking them to do something such as conduct a transaction online.

Rizley complimented NewsNet, BYU's combined print and electronic broadcast journalism program, for its forward-thinking and active promotion of itself in the Daily Universe, BYU's campus newspaper.

Rizley told communications students gathered in the Harris Fine Arts Center that the Internet is quickly becoming more than just a toy for "geeks," "and it will soon be a key player in the investing world, as well as markets such as grocery shopping, pizza orders, bookstores and information providers."

The Internet not only will change the way news is gathered and delivered but also will have a dramatic effect on advertising and public relations, the BYU communications graduate said.