Thursday, 24 February 2011

Dr Marsha Woodbury on Crises and Response

Dr Marsha Woodbury, University of Illinois, kicked off the panel discussion on day 2 with her talk 'Crises and Response, taking the Bull by the Horns' . The panel focussed on how the media has responded to some of the crises that has taken place on the economic front. According to her, there is a growth of newspapers in India, which is a good news to journalism students since they needn't worry about finding jobs. On the contrary, the trend of newspapers in the US has been declining. She rightly pointed out that the Wall Street Journal is an exception and is the only newspaper to turn profit in 2009, according to statistics. WSJ has continued to do well because of the introduction of paid online subscription.

Speaking about the trends in the media in the US, she stressed on the increasing deregulation, concentration and conglomeration. She cited the music band Dixie Chicks's experience with the media as an example of deregulation, when they voiced their opinion against President Bush's invasion in Iraq and a certain radio station refused to play their songs since then. "Allowing so much ownership by a multinational corporation is questionable and the question is, how are we dealing with economic crisis with all this selling out of media," she said.

As an example of self-censorship, she spoke about the time when many people protested the invasion of Iraq in Washington DC and the media which was so pro government provided hardly any coverage.

She touched upon why  Facebook  and the iPad are doing so well, speaking about how they are tightly controlled platforms, with all their application being controlled by Facebook and Apple,respectively. "The machine-to- machine future is less about browsing and more about getting", she said.

She concluded on a positive note, by encouraging investigative journalism, because according to her, there is still scope in that area of specialization. This is because of the fact that investigative journalism is funded by NGOs and foundations, as opposed to newspapers.

We thank Dr Marsha for supporting the social media team and are looking forward to hearing more from her!

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