Lessons for all communicators from changing face of media

These are exciting times for young journalists. And very different in many ways from the time when we were reporting and producing stories for the CBC, CTV and BBC.

When we were in the field – not so long ago in calendar years, but light-years in terms of technology – we measured deadlines in hours and thought if we filed for radio as well as television we were seriously multi-tasking.

Now deadlines are measured in minutes. And a journalist might routinely be asked to file for radio, TV, online news and social media.

These thoughts were prompted by a presentation skills session with a great crowd of young aspiring journalists at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

We looked at a New York Times story on the internet. It had video embedded within the written story. So you could watch the video, or read the story – or both. Then, of course, there were links to Twitter and Facebook.

The New York Times was offering its audience a choice, plus interaction. Choice, and an invitation to participate, are important communication tools. You don’t have to be a journalist to use them.

When you deliver your information, think of the best medium to reach your audience. Is it visual, verbal, written – or a combination of all three. When you do speak, have you factored in participation time. Nothing is more boring than being the ‘sage on stage’. How can you get reaction and participation from your audience. And how can you use it so everyone benefits.

We’re in the age of the Great Conversation. Everybody wants their say, in their way. Think about how you can build that into your next speech or presentation.

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