So the New York Times, the Huffington Post, the New York Observer, Gawker, Newsweek/Daily Beast, and Facebook all walk onto a stage. For New York City media, that’s a dream setup—pick your punch line. Especially when the topic of their conversation is “The Future of Media” and you’ve got salty Timesman David Carr (star of the forthcoming Page One documentary) sitting alongside staunch HuffPo defender and editor Saul Hansell and Gawker editor Remy Stern.
But I Want Media founder Patrick Phillips, who moderated Wednesday’s panel discussion at New York University’s Journalism Institute, mostly missed the opportunity before him. Maybe that’s because the obvious question—What is the future of media?—was never asked.
Still, Philips’ pointed questions did yield some pull quotes. In chronological order:
Carr said the New York Times would “absolutely not” go out of business, and defended the Times pay wall. “We’re trying to squeeze money out of everybody we encounter,” he said. “But I would say our future is solid.” Stern and Observer editor Elizabeth Spiers said they would not institute pay walls.
Newsweek/Daily Beast executive editor Edward Felsenthal said Newsweek and the Daily Beast would not become one brand. He also said that the Daily Beast had become a “must read” for a lot of people, which went unquestioned.
Hansell defended the Huffington Post’s repackaging of Times content, then suggested that news organizations should serve their audiences, “not some J-school professor’s abstractions” (oh snap!). He also compared Patch, AOL’s hyper-local news service, to “building a railroad 150 years ago.”
Stern said Facebook is often Gawker’s strongest circulation tool. Facebook’s Vadim Lavrusik said Facebook had no plans to request money from media organizations for driving their traffic. Carr quipped that journalism doesn’t pay so well, and that Twitter doesn't pay at all.
Then everyone went back to work.