In just over a decade, the way news is consumed has shifted dramatically, sending media outlets scrambling to figure out how to adapt and survive.
One of Utah's top news executives told a local audience on Tuesday that in order for news organizations to continue to exist and prosper, they will have to change the way they deliver news and information.
Con Psarras, vice president and managing director of KSL News, told the Rotary Club of Salt Lake that the Internet and digital media are reshaping the news landscape in very profound ways.
"News is everywhere," he said. "It's in your text-message device. It's on your laptop. It's just about everywhere you go."
He said the ready availability of news from various sources has forced traditional outlets — such as newspapers, television and radio — to rethink how they disseminate information to consumers.
"The challenge to people in the (news) business … is, if it's everywhere, how do (we) sell it, monetize it or capitalize on it in a way that sustains a (profitable) business model?" he said.
One way to work toward long-term viability is to "build your brand" to maximize profit potential, Psarras said, adding that while online advertising can be a money-maker, the revenue generated is just a fraction of what outlets made from traditional advertising just a few years ago.
To that end, he noted, many outlets are struggling to survive in the current revenue-starved news business.
"(The business) is changing because it's no longer a passive, 'sit down and let it come to you' (endeavor)," he said. The advent of mobile devices has added to the immediacy that consumers expect — getting their news anytime they want it, he said.
Psarras said the most successful organizations in the long run will be those that can best use any and all resources available to them, such as conglomerates that combine media sources like radio and television or print in addition to the Internet.
"If your brand is trusted, when (the consumer) wants more (news), they'll come to you," he said. "So if you can give them all that (information), you're probably better off."
He also said that while cable news has created a bit of left-right division in the business of news journalism, the future will likely see a move back toward fact-based, unbiased news coverage.
"It's never more important than now to be objective. But it's not about saying you're objective. … You better be able to prove you're objective," he said. "If ever before in the history of this democracy or the practice of traditional journalism in this country … It's never been more important to actually be fair, balanced and objective."
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