Forget newspapers, TV, radio and the Internet

Forget newspapers. And the television. The radio. The Internet. All of it.

dt-common-streams-streamserverThat’s how I start out my latest media innovation column. Of course, I don’t mean forget newspapers. I’ll still take the paper as long as someone will deliver it. But in this new rapidly evolving age, the stories matter more than the medium.

It has been a whirlwind opening to the Center for Media Innovation. We have featured top journalists from a variety of publications, both local and national. They included three Pulitzer prize winners. The co-creator of the Serial podcast. And the always emotional voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers. We had a presenter from the oldest newspaper west of the Alleghenies and The Incline, an online publication that launched hours before its editor spoke on campus. Cutting edge!

We have had a ton of positive social and traditional media coverage. Here are a few of the links (with commentary by Point Park’s Lou Corsaro)…

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, fittingly, took a unique route, combining a writeup with videos and social media to mark the occasion. I highly recommend taking in everything here. 

WESA did a writeup online, also noting that the day marked the premiere of The Incline in Pittsburgh. Incline Editor Lexi Belculfine also was part of our afternoon media panel

Anchor Michelle Wright, who took part in the morning media panel, was posting on social media through the day, and mentioned the CMI opening from her WTAE desk before heading over. 

KDKA Radio’s James Garrity, who was very excited about the CMI, offered two different news items for the air: Here and here.  

And we have had tons of social media… 


 You also can find all of the events on our YouTube page


Presidential race raises questions about objectivity

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 11.40.37 AMThis presidential news cycle seems to be making history — no matter who you support.

It’s also forcing journalists to rethink the way they cover political races. For a long time, reporters sought objectivity by simply giving candidates equal time. I make the case in my monthly media column that’s no longer the case. Reporters need to be critical thinkers, ask tough questions and sort out reality from fiction.

Let me know in the comments section what you think…

Both sides are not the only side during this deeply vexing presidential election cycle.

Journalism schools have educated students for generations that political objectivity starts with presenting equal information from every candidate. If a journalist quotes a Democrat on a particular topic, the journalist also should find out what the Republican has to say.

But the pursuit of that kind of objectivity has come under fire. Some see blind attempts at objectivity has a cop-out against critical thinking.

By simply giving each side a chance to comment — without considering the veracity of those words – journalists can abdicate their central role of presenting the truth. Read more…

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Newspapers need to be more nimble

My latest media innovation column focuses on the upstart companies that curate or aggregate the news from other sites, adding their own slant or original reporting. The people behind these sites have a lot of different approaches and many of them seem to be making money. They largely depend on original reporting from other sources.

An editor at the Tribune-Review wrote the headline: “News aggregators need newspapers.” From my perspective, the newspaper could have said just as easily and accurately…

“Newspapers need to be more nimble.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 11.41.14 AMAdam Shuck started out two years ago this month with an email to 30 friends, sending them links to Pittsburgh news stories and offering his unique perspective.

He had no formal journalism training but his daily newsletter, “Eat That, Read This,” turned out to be popular. He now has 4,700 subscribers, sells advertisements and has turned writing the emails into a full-time job.

Shuck faithfully credits the original news sources and spreads around links to various media outlets.

He occasionally takes aim at journalists, too. Continue reading here.

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Ransomware goes rogue

It’s bad when hackers lock up computers and hold them for ransom — but it’s about to get a whole lot worse. My first freelance article for the Tribune-Review delves into this frightening new world where hackers don’t want your bitcoin and they’re interested in deleting more than your files…


As bad as it seemed when hackers locked up computer systems at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in February, demanding a $17,000 ransom, the attack could have been much worse, experts tell the Tribune-Review.

The cybercriminals used so-called ransomware that seeks victims through emails and websites, then locks their computer equipment until they pay a ransom.

dt.common.streams.StreamServer-1When a victim pays the ransom — typically in digital bitcoins — the thieves provide a digital key to unlock the system. Yet hackers who aren’t motivated by money could refuse to offer a key, said Brian Nussbaum, a former security intelligence analyst who teaches computer security at State University of New York at Albany.

“There is certainly the potential for you to have organizations where the data is simply gone,” Nussbaum said. Read the full story here.

Journalism is changing — and I want to be part of it

I spoke recently with Essential Pittsburgh on Pittsburgh’s NPR station 90.5 WESA-FM about the future of journalism. This is what they took away from our discussion…

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 10.25.40 AMFormer Pittsburgh Tribune-Review investigative reporter Andrew Conte knows newspapers. The industry is not dying, he said.

As the new director of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, Conte — still a monthly columnist — is using his delight for an evolving craft to help prepare aspiring storytellers.

“Journalism is changing, and I wanted to be a part of helping figure out that change for our broader audience,” Conte told Essential Pittsburgh on Friday. See the whole story and listen to the interview here.

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Sneak peak: Center for Media Innovation


We hosted a tour of the Center for Media Innovation with several Point Park alumni and members of the local media clubs.

It seems like everyone has a great idea for saving journalism — and I’m loving it. Ever since taking over as director of the new Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, I have been swamped with proposals for new projects. People are pumped for good journalism and for making sure young people still see a bright future in this profession.

At the same time, walls are going up! I have been in the Center almost daily over the past couple of weeks and it’s great to see the place coming together, moving from the paper designs to actual plasterboard and glass. Every week brings some new development: The news ticker has arrived!

We recently hosted a tour of the Center for several Point Park alumni and leaders of the local media clubs — including Kim Palmiero, president of the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, Tory Parrish, president of the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, and Stacey Federoff, president of the Women’s Press Club of Pittsburgh.

We are on schedule to open for the fall semester.

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Finding value in journalism

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.clsMy first media column was inspired by meeting Curt Guyette, an investigative reporter for the ACLU in Michigan. Curt discovered officials in Flint, Mich., had not treated the drinking water properly, leading to high levels of lead. He figured it out the old-fashioned way — talking to citizens, asking tough questions and refusing to accept the wrong answers.

Especially in this age of instant news, journalism remains too important to neglect. Too often, news outlets have devalued their products by giving away information. My goals at the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University are reminding the public about the valuable roles of an independent press, while helping journalists — newly minted and cynically old — figure out the paths forward.

Take a moment to check out the column: