Panel: The future of media

Five digital news experts discuss the future of media.

The panel was hosted in Toronto by online news site It included The Globe and Mail‘s Managing Editor, Digital, Anjali Kapoor, Elmer Sotto, the head of growth at Facebook Canada; David Skok, head of digital content at Global News; digital marketing and social media strategist Mark Evans, principal of ME Consulting; and Kunal Gupta, chief executive officer of Polar Mobile.

A story in The Globe and Mail notes that the panelists could only agree on one thing: the limited resources of news organizations. They stressed the importance of “relying on and learning from digital startups that are popping up everywhere.”

The Globe writes:

“Startups aren’t the only firms that can help. Facebook, for instance, is trying its best to assist news organizations. And Mr. Sotto says it makes sense for them to do so. While media companies specialize in content, Facebook creates absolutely none, and that allows the firm to focus on distribution.

“Facebook can be particularly helpful with user comments, which in some cases have turned into personal rants that foster little discussion on most news websites. Yet when comments are posted directly to Facebook pages, users are unlikely to say something silly. If they do, Mr. Skok said they risk the chance of being mocked by people they know.”

Evans challenged this idea, suggesting that sharing news stories within your network of friends is not a way to expand a point of view. “You basically pick what you want to see rather than getting a broad spectrum,” Evans said.

The panelists discussed the encroach of cell phones, noting that web and mobile advertising has yet to become a viable replacement for print advertising. And as more people turn to their mobiles for information, the space for advertising just shrinks.

The Globe writes:

“Of course, a digital media discussion would be incomplete without mentioning the iPad. Asked if he thinks news outlets should focus on Apple’s tablet, Mr. Gupta strongly voiced his opinion against jumping on the bandwagon. Not only is it a closed operating system, he said, but Steve Jobs is so protective of his products that he won’t let media companies see them before they are released, even though these products are supposed to help save the industry.”