Earlier this week, MPR hosted a day-long forum on The Future of News. Colleague Julia Schrenkler, who handled most of the online action, has posted the video of the keynote, which featured Ken Doctor. He runs the Web site Content Bridges.
He’s also written a post about the conference and, in particular, the one portion where teeth were bared. Star Tribune Publisher Mike Sweeney and his editor-in-chief, Nancy Barnes, declared that MPR was engaged in a “land grab,” because it had advantages as a non-profit over the Star Tribune.
Some participants had joked about how MPR was putting on a self-serving conference, one that asked the question about the future of news and came pre-equipped with the two-word answer: Public Radio. Not untrue, but the conference managed to bring not only Sweeney and Strib editor Nancy Barnes into the room and onto panels. It is also brought in Joel Kramer, publisher of MinnPost (as well as Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis), knowing that Kramer might be (and was) vocal about MPR’s unwillingness to partner with MinnPost.
If Sweeney came concerned, he might have left more worried. Yes, Public Radio’s legacy business is radio, and, more recently, audio, via podcast and streaming. What Sweeney heard, though, was a larger Who, public radio’s nascent attempts to assert itself as a major online (and then presumably mobile) news player throughout the country.
You can find the whole Future of News Web site here. Incidentally, I didn’t see this fabulous piece of work until yesterday: