At a Sky News luncheon John Ryley, head of the British news broadcaster, said now is the golden age of journalism. Michael Bratt attended the event to find out why he thinks so and why media should currently be viewed in such a positive light.
Ryley cited five reasons to be positive about journalism:
- Journalism remains as the main method for holding institutions to account
- Changing technology has allowed journalists to tell the story better
- The way information is gathered and packaged is changing, making it better
- Demand for Sky News and news in general is expanding, with coverage remaining as popular as ever
- In Sky’s experience great journalism equals real value
He went on to say that the golden age is supported by, “The ability to tell stories in really engaging ways using video, text, graphics, live coverage, audio, in creative combinations.”
However Ryley doesn’t believe that anyone “has yet cracked really how to tell stories brilliantly online but they will, and I hope Sky will be the first.” But he didn’t want to give away too many trade secrets about how he plans to ensure the British broadcaster achieves this never-before done feat, saying “I hope we will announce, in not too long, developments with our social media strategy.”
Ryley also touched on the appeal of Sky, which has seen audience demand for the channel continue to expand. “Sky is appealing because it offers both live coverage of big, significant news stories and at the same time provides analysis and context to those big breaking news stories. But an increasingly important part of today’s news media is the ability to catch up on news and devices such as mobile phones are a brilliant way of being able to catch up and keep up with news and I think what we will see is even greater use of video on mobile phones to tell stories.
“Because we all lead very busy lives and we want to be able to catch up on the news when we want to, not when the official broadcaster wants to tell you what’s going on. Sky can offer both live coverage and the ability to catch up with it”. The notion that the audience is in charge was also brought up with Ryley explaining that “the viewer chooses how long to watch, it’s up to us to keep their attention.”
When asked by an audience member how digital has impacted television broadcasts Ryley responded, “A recent study says audiences still trust TV news over all other sources. But more choice of platform has expanded the market and the audience. As people acquire more digital devices, the more news they consume. TV audiences remain buoyant despite growth in digital. There is nothing more powerful than a live stream of news unfolding.”
Another Sky representative who was at the event was senior news presenter Jeremy Thompson. He took the audience on an unforgettable trip through his anchoring career, from when he first began in India, where breaking news stories took a day to get back to the office before being broadcast, to his most recent experience in South Africa with the Oscar Pistorius trial. He touched on the mission of Sky News, stating “The aim is to be fast, accurate and accessible. We want the viewer to have the best experience and trust us to be their guides through history.”
When asked which politicians he would still like to interview, Thompson said that Jacob Zuma was his first choice, followed by a proper sit down interview with Barack Obama, and he wants to find out more about Kim Jong-un.
Thompson also conducted a public interview with Springbok captain Jean de Villiers about the upcoming Rugby World Cup. De Villiers said he believes the 2015 competition will be the best one ever. “It will be nicely hosted and won’t be a two horse race as there are several teams that could win it.” He also touched on his options after retiring from rugby saying, “There might be something in the pipeline for SuperSport, we have been talking. I have also been involved with wealth management company Citadel so I’ll see if there is something for me there.”
DStv Media Sales hosted the luncheon, aimed at loyal advertisers, because it has been representing Sky News in South Africa for the past 20 years.
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