Chicago Journalism: The future and you

Sunday at the Allegro, a group of journalists, reporters, and media personalities gathered together for a tailgate on the future of Journalism in Chicago. It was basically a clash between old media (newspapers, television, radio) and new media (The Internet, iPhone, iPods.)

Representing the “old school” were John Callaway, Carol Marin, Robert Feder, and Eric Zorn, among others, and repping the “new school” (of Internet journalism) included Ben Goldberger of The Huffington Post (Chicago edition), Geoff Dougherty from ChiTown Daily News, and Andrew Huff from Gaper’s Block.

A lot of issues were discussed from the viability of newspapers to online advertising, from theft of intellectual property to the cost of running a newsroom ($2 million to 4 million!)

The most startling statement at the tailgate came from John Callaway, who declared newspapers “dead”, given the financial troubles media companies are having with them (Philadelphia’s newspapers were the latest to file for Chapter 11 on Sunday.)

Also discussed was the lack of preparation of the upcoming digital TV transition, with an estimated 230,000 in Chicago proper not ready for the changeover from analog to digital television, and the lack of Internet access in some of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods.

Yours truly listened to this conference via podcast and it is a very interesting, entertaining, and educational listen. It provided a rare glimpse into what Chicago’s media personalities are thinking in this era of unprecedented change in the industry.

The town hall meeting has its own blog page – there, you can view video highlights, find a link to download the podcasts, and links to the panelists’ blogs on the event.

Chicago Public Radio also has a blog on Sunday’s meeting, with a twitter feed on the front page. The podcast pages to download and/or listen to the meeting are here and here.