Having the curious mind of a journalist, I was excited to be invited to a private event at the Newseum featuring legendary broadcaster Larry King and hearing his view of decades in the industry. Leon Harris, a news anchor for ABC-7/WJLA-TV, was the moderator for the evening. The event began with a video retrospective of King’s career and footage from some of his most famous interviews. King walked on stage and as he sat down and took off his jacket the first thing you noticed were a pair of suspenders synonymous with him and a RCA Type 77 series microphone in the center of the table. King told us a story about how as a little boy he would attend baseball games and as he sat way up in the stands he would broadcast play-by-plays of the games to himself. He’s known of course as a seasoned and respected interviewer, but I was surprised to discover that King’s also a master storyteller and comedian. He shared about his journey as a radio talk show host in Miami Beach, then as a talk show host in television (his show ‘Larry King Live’ became the first international TV call-in show) and now his current job as host of the online show ‘Larry King Now’ on Hulu. It’s a challenge to remain relevant and survive in the business in just one of those forms of media — to have successfully transitioned through all of them and still be going strong is amazing. King showed us the flip phone that he won’t part with and said that he keeps up with social media dictating his Tweets. He has become an icon in broadcasting, but to himself, King will always be a Brooklyn boy grounded by his humble roots.
I attended an intriguing program on the topic of “Inside Media: What’s Happening to the News Business?” at the Newseum. The inspiration for the discussion was ‘Riptide,’ an oral history project that chronicles the epic collision between journalism and digital technology from 1980 to the present. Check out the video interviews — they are very insightful!
Distinguished panelists included: Martin Baron, Washington Post executive editor, Ted Leonsis, former AOL senior executive, Vivian Schiller, NBC News chief digital officer, Julius Genachowski, former FCC chairman, and panel moderator John Huey, former editor-in-chief of Time Inc. Presentation highlights I walked away with …
- Ted talked about how the industry blew it years ago by not believing in the new medium. Publications like Sports Illustrated missing the boat by not creating a product like ESPN or Rolling Stone magazine not developing a product like MTV. Ted said the next phenomenon is where mobile, local and social all come together. Microtargeting audiences (ex. Groupon) and re-imagining delivery and advertising. Being machine-driven, not human centered. Understanding how the machines work and how to feed them.
- Martin discussed the importance of sourcing news with speed and great reporting being essential to the brand.
- Vivian spoke about televisions being everywhere, the need for multiple revenue streams, and not tricking the audience or letting advertisers influence them.
- Julius said it’s important that we ask not is news valuable, but rather what is the new business model for delivery?
Once again, another positive event experience at the Newseum.