Around the Institute

21st Century Media: Threats and Promises

March 25, 2013

On February 22, 2013 Trustee Marc Nathanson, and his wife, Jane Nathanson, graciously hosted the Socrates cocktail reception at their home, filled with an extraordinary private contempoary art collection. American Public Media’s Marketplace Kai Ryssdal and Geneva Overholser, Director of USC Annenberg’s School of Journalism discussed the importance of journalism in the digital age, and the responsibility of patrons of journalism to strive to receive information from multiple sources for a more balanced understanding of issues. In the seminar, Overholser and the participants discussed disrupters in the field of journalism and directions the industry could take going forward.


Journalism — that mainstay of a democracy — is undergoing a revolution. Seeking to understand exactly what is happening, moderator Geneva Overholser and the seminar participants started with the golden era of legacy media, acquainting themselves with its ethical and economic underpinnings, assessing its strengths and noting its weaknesses, from the pressures toward “infotainment” to those left outside its focus. Looking across media platforms, they considered the rise of social media, the transformation of “the people formerly known as the audience,” the decline of old platforms and the astonishing changes wrought by technological transformation. Arriving at the current moment, they sized up the state of the traditional media today, the role of government, the many new ways of delivering information in the public interest and the questions surrounding its sustainability.