NYU event on the changing rules of a brave new media world; New York Times’ David Carr moderates debate among top execs from Yahoo!, Simon & Schuster, Condé Nast Publications, and Rodale Inc.

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NEW YORK November 16, 2006 - Last week at New York University, media columnist David Carr of the New York Times (and Carpetbagger blog on nytimes.com) moderated a lively hour-long dialogue on the many ways “new” and “traditional” media are converging and colliding, and what it means for the industry and for consumers.

The event - “How To Lead and Succeed in a Brave New Media World” - sponsored by the Master of Science in Publishing program at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, took place on November 8, 2006. Panelists included media leaders Steven Pleshette Murphy, president and CEO of Rodale Inc.; Carolyn Reidy, president of the Adult Publishing Group at Simon & Schuster, Inc.; Daniel Rosensweig, chief operating officer of Yahoo!; and Thomas J. Wallace, editorial director at Condé Nast Publications.

Please visit www.scps.nyu.edu/media-panel to view the entire event online.

Old or New Media….Who Cares?

Yahoo!’s Rosensweig cautioned listeners not to focus too much on “old versus new” media. He argued that digital platforms do what communications media- books, magazines, radio or TV-always did, just faster:

“The Web takes what people are predisposed to do, gives them more tools to do it more rapidly, and then take advantage of it. The biggest lesson is: give people what they want, when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it, and you’d be amazed at how positively they respond to it,” said Rosensweig.

Following up from a publisher’s perspective, Rodale’s Murphy said, “I think the strategy is product. We have to stay focused on making great content and be completely platform agnostic.

Anyone Can Be a Publisher

The consensus of the group was that “new” media has democratized the production of new content and some argued that can not but affect quality.

“[A] publisher can be anybody who decides they want to publish something, and that’s actually precisely part of the problem. Our slush piles are now on the Web,” said Simon and Schuster’s Reidy.

Later on, Condé Nast’s Wallace addressed the issue: “On the Internet, the barriers [of entry] are very low. Now we have ….100 million sites on all of the social networking sites. Everybody’s saying whatever they want on their page. I don’t know, maybe you can call that publishing, but you sure can’t call that a business.

Younger Audience Online: Using the Internet to Your Advantage

Moderator David Carr captured the attention of the publishing audience when he commented on the information-gathering habits of today’s youth. “If you want to hide something from an 18-year-old kid, a daily newspaper is a pretty good place to do it,” he noted wryly.

Tom Wallace was bullish on the Internet’s effects on the magazine industry, saying it is robust due to the Internet driving sales of traditional print magazines. “Acquiring new magazine subscriptions online is pure gold for us. [With the Internet] there is no mail, no printing. And Web subscribers are twice as likely to renew and six years younger than our average subscriber,” he said.

Steve Murphy, added about the convergence of Internet and print, “The marketing opportunities online for traditional products are huge; this past year we sold 30% of our magazine subscribers one of our books, which is up from maybe 11% the year before.”

Trusted Sources and Voices of Authority…Who Are They Now?

“Word-of-Mouth always sold everything. That’s now being magnified,” said Carolyn Reidy. “The authority is no longer the book reviewer or the doctor or the policeman. It’s the person you know or the one who shares your interests. People don’t trust authority anymore…it’s whose authority!”

Dan Rosensweig had similar sentiments about the change in voices of authority, “We have to get rid of the old rules that were set up before we were born that say this is the way the world works. Trusted sources are becoming very different. The brand that presents a product is a trusted source and so is someone who tells something to you.

David Carr echoed the powerful shift towards regular people, and not just brands and big companies, becoming trusted sources when they publish on the Web. He discussed the notion of consumers acting as “producers” and the idea that we are in a process of “secular change”.

Advice to “Ambidextrous” Young Publishers

Steven Murphy had some final advice for the young group of publishers, “To make it in publishing now you have to be ambidextrous, to think strategically and practically. Those young people coming into the industry have the skills we need. We [as publishers] need to build the environment they need”.

About NYU’s M.S. in Publishing program
With a broad focus on traditional and new media, New York University’s Master of Science in Publishing program (www.scps.nyu.edu/mspub) provides the critical thinking skills and in-depth industry knowledge necessary for leadership positions in book, magazine and media companies. Launched 10 years ago by the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, the program offers evening classes, taught by leading publishing professionals; the curriculum emphasizes cutting-edge content management, editing, marketing and branding, circulation and distribution, advertising, business development and digital skills.

About The NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies
The School of Continuing and Professional Studies (www.scps.nyu.edu) is among the 14 colleges and schools that comprise New York University, one of the largest private universities in the United States. Founded in 1934, NYU-SCPS each year educates some 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students and enrolls over 44,000 in its non-credit programs. A national leader in adult and professionally-oriented education, NYU-SCPS programs include non-credit courses that span more than 125 fields, 14 industry-focused master’s degree programs, and nine bachelors and six associates degree programs specially designed for working adults.

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