Lavinia Tudoran, deputy editor-in-chief of Antena 1, Romania.

U.S. and Romanian Experts Discuss the Impact of New Technologies on Communication

Communication experts from Romania and the United States told about 45 students, faculty and journalists gathered at the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA) in Bucharest in late May that the new technologies have changed dramatically not only the media landscape, but also the journalists’ status.

The speakers also explained how traditional media have tried to respond to these challenges and how new categories of communicators contribute to better informed communities.

“There currently are three major challenges for electronic media,” Dr. C. Ann Hollifield, head of the Department of Telecommunications in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, told the group in one of the panels.

“They are: identifying a workable business model, creating quality and transmedia content, and measurement of the audiences’ attention, engagement and action,” she said.

In the same session, Lavinia Tudoran, deputy editor-in-chief of Antena 1, described how Romanian TV news channels try to create new types of content combining information and entertainment.

“Our 24-hour news channel has been able to beat the Romanian generalist programs in some segments, due to a very dynamic coverage of news and to excellent documentaries it has produced,” she said.

Owen Ullmann, managing editor for print, USA Today, explained why many newspapers in the United States have abandoned their print versions.

It costs 50 times as much to publish a version of USA Today on paper and to distribute that version as it costs to publish and distribute the same version online, Ullmann told the group.

The cost for the print edition is $0.50, he said. The paper sells for $1 on newstands. It costs about $0.01 to create and distribute the electronic edition.

Owen Ullmann, managing editor for print, USA Today.

Dr. Lee B. Becker, director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, and Tiberiu Lovin, founder of the news blog, focused in their session on the impact of new technologies on citizens and community journalists.

“Citizens are now both consumers of news on their own terms and producers of news on their own terms,” said Dr. Becker. “The established media--and most of us as researchers-- underestimated the appetite of the audiences for both of these activities.”

Dr. Mira Moshe of the Ariel University of Samara, Israel, and Nir Refuah, head of digital, McCann Erickson, Romania, showed to the audience how the creativity of those working in television and advertising has been stimulated and enhanced by new technologies.

Dr. Tudor Vlad, associate director of the Cox International Center, said that both in the United States and Romania the audiences are looking for alternative sources of information, because many communities feel that traditional media do not cover issues that are relevant for those communities.

The workshop was the fourth in a series held by the Center for Research in Communication at the SNSPA and the Cox International Center, a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

Earlier workshops have focused on crisis communication, the responsibility of the media and media coverage of elections.

Opening comments were made by Dr. Nicoleta Corbu, dean of the College of Communications and Public Relations at SNSPA, Dr. Becker, and Dr. Remus Pricopie, minister of education in the Romanian Government.

“The relationship between the Grady College and our School of Communication now has a long and fruitful history,” said Dr. Pricopie. “We have organized workshops and conferences together, we’ve published books and studies together, and we have exchanged faculty. I hope that this partnership will continue and develop for a long time.”