Categorized | Multimedia

The Future of News at BCNI Philly

Newsmakers and news-consumers met in Philadelphia on Saturday for BarCamp News Innovation, an “unconference” designed as a platform for people interested in journalism to exchange ideas on how to save the ailing news industry. 

Newspapers’ woes have worsened recently as the industry tries to adjust to a changing media landscape. Just last week, the New York Times reported a 27 percent drop in advertising revenues for the first-quarter of the year. At the same time, workers for the Boston Globe rallied to save their paper from extinction due to budget cuts. If the Globe shuts down on its May first deadline, it’ll be following in the footsteps of the Seattle-Post Intelligencer and the Rocky Mountain News—two former news staples whose print versions are now defunct.

Journalist Beth Park (CLICK FOR AUDIO)

Journalist Beth Parke (CLICK FOR AUDIO)

Beth Parke (right), a veteren journalist and executive director of the Society of Environmental Journalists, attended the event. She said she was interested in learning more about the changing nature of media, the poor job market, and the future of print media. While excited about technological innovation, she said she was concerned with the possible decline of in-depth and investigative journalism. “You don’t want to sacrifice content and knowledge to technique and tools,” she said (click on the picture to hear what else she had to say).



The conference kicked off at 9 A.M. at Temple University. A unique event, there was no set schedule for the day–participants used an open grid format (photo left) to determine what topics they wanted to discuss. They wrote their ideas on an index card and tacked them onto the grid during a time slot; attendees then choose which sessions they wanted to attend (click the picture to see how it works).

As soon as the sessions began, BCNI’s twitter feed was flooded with comments from participants who live-tweeted the discussions. Sessions focused on topics like online advertising and how to make it effective (and profitable) and the debate over re-inventing journalism schools to incorporate more new media training.

Experts offered their own takes. Speakers from CoPress–a not-for-profit that specializes in college media outlets–talked about the ways that college media can innovate. Patrick Thornton of gave advice on how to use social networking in reporting. 

People from all different fields and backgrounds came to participate in the discussions. Click on any of the photos below to hear what each person had to say:










Christopher Wink, a recent Temple graduate, started his own local blog at to cover technological news in Philadelphia

Christopher Wink, a recent Temple graduate, started his own local blog at to cover technological news in Philadelphia (CLICK PHOTO FOR AUDIO)

Patrick Thronton led a session on the role of social networking technology in beat reporting. He is the editor of (CLICK PHOTO FOR AUDIO)












For some, the event was just what they needed to ease concerns over the dismal state of the news industry–to see the new technology as a blessing, not a curse. 

As one tweeter, rebeccavm, put it: “After bcniphilly, I have some hope for the future,” she wrote. “That’s good, except I also want a fancy new phone.”

BY: Indrani Datta, Sophie Cocke, Jeanmarie Evelly