Panelists talk social media, crowdsourcing in Compton Hall

Photo: The Spectator
Pulitzer Prize nominee Brett Pulley (middle) listens to a question during the ‘Media and Business in the Digital Age’ symposium held at Compton Hall on Oct. 9. Pulley, along with Kevin Kleps (left), Vanessa Herring (not pictured) and Jim Grillo (not p
National experts gathered at EUP

By Michael McLaughlin
Staff Writer/Spectator

On Oct. 9 in Compton Hall a panel of national experts gathered to discuss how elements of today’s society, such as social media and the Internet, affect news publication and business.

One topic that was discussed extensively was the accuracy that is presented on social media outlets. This accuracy, or lack thereof, was coupled with who reports the breaking stories first.

“You see a lot of reporters who aren’t really reporting, they see a rumor and they just throw it out there,” said Kev in Kelps, the current assistant editor of Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Additionally, he said that it is more important to accurately report the story rather than report it first because that is what builds a reputation of a reliable news source.

“The consumer base is increasingly more sophisticated about what they’re receiving and because of that I believe that quality will rule the day,” said Brett Pulley, Dean of the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Hampton University.

Pulley went on to mention that the need for content is at the highest level that it has ever been at and the devices used to distribute that information are improving every day.

Another topic the panel discussed alongside content accuracy was integrity.

“Anybody today that is going into journalism has to feel a real strong sense of personal integrity,” said Jim Grillo, founder and chief executive officer of The Cricket Group. “We all have to hope for that.”

The panel went on to discuss the importance of traffic certain social media platforms receive due to the reliable in formation and integrity that their employees provide.

“Google didn’t pay a billion dollars for Instagram because people care about what you’re eating right now, but because they believe it’s an extraordinary platform,” said Pulley. He continued on to say that this is a great way for web browsers like Google to spread news to the people.

Furthermore, the panelists discussed how the news platform has generally changed today.

“We don’t talk much about how [what was] once entertainment news is now hard news,” said Grillo. For an example, Gril lo used the fact that TMZ was the one who released the second tape of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident when he was inside the elevator with his fiancé.

Kleps went on to talk about a website called, which is run by sports journalist Bill Simmons, and how he likes the idea that they have turned his podcast into a YouTube channel.

“I think the smart companies, [and] the websites that are so desperate for page views will turn into little television shows on the side,” said Kleps. “There’s going to be more content and smart content, I think you’re going to see that.”

The panel also touched on what students can take away from the digital age when they are looking for jobs.

“You are your own brand. You just have to be careful what you do with that,” said Kleps. He later said that versatility is a very marketable trait in the job market right now.

Pulley commented on another trait that is looked for in the journalism world.

“No matter what you’re interested in, it’s all business in this industry,” said Pulley. “Once you’re willing to understand business, the greater journalist you will be.”

Grillo’s advice to the young people in the audience was almost the opposite of Kleps’ and Pulley’s.

“Get out and experience life before you report on it,” said Grillo. “I think you’re a better reporter if you understand those aspects.”

Pulley thinks that this generation is knowledgeable with what content they receive and said that the quality of content is very un likely to decrease in the upcoming years.

“I’m a real believer that these consumers will care about quality as the years go on,” said Pulley.

During the end of the panel, Grillo, Kleps, and Pulley dis cussed whether or not the new technology could have an impact on the skills of reporters and journalists.

“You have to be a great communicator, no technology has found a way around that,” said Pulley.

When the panel was opened to questions from the audience, the positives and negatives of social media was a popular topic.

The list of negatives was relatively short, only consisting of inaccurate content and the possibility of companies requiring payment for their content.

One of the positives was the fact that user generated content does not have to be from a re porter or news source.

“If you report in Ferguson even though you’re not an actual reporter and as time develops and you’re doing stuff that is consistently accurate you can be a source of information for people,” said Kleps.

Pulley said that he is a sup porter of user generated content.

“One day we could see some user generated content win a Pulitzer or an Emmy,” said Pulley. “And that’s the upside to it.”

Overall, the panelists encouraged the students in attendance to be versatile with their traits and to market themselves well on social media.

Michael McLaughlin is the staff writer for The Spectator. He can be reached by