Thursday, September 11, 1997

Columbia University's Center for New Media's panel

Heading further north, I continued to Columbia University's Center for New Media's panel: "News in the Digital Age: Journalism versus the Bottom Line." Moderated by Jeff Greenfield of ABC News, and put together in part by @NY editor Tom Watson (way to go Tom!), this taut exchange of ideas at the top of the industry brought some of new media's cream of the crop to the helm of the J-School's ship. Panelists included former CourtTV honcho Steve Brill, media tycoon Barry Diller, Time Inc. New Media president Linda McCutcheon Conneally, CKS CEO Mark Kvamme, and Bertelsmann CEO-designate Thomas Middelhoff. To see someone of Barry Diller's stature (ABC, Paramount, Fox, QVC, Home Shopping Network, and his upcoming network of local news) debate the merits of online publishing with other notables was well worth the trip uptown. The panelists gave the audience some meaty morsels to muse on at the reception following in the Pulitzer World room, where a virtual who's who of the New York media world indulged in the mouth-mmelting scrumptious apps being passed and the bevy of beverages available at the site.

This was of personal interest for me as well, as I got to pear up close at 2 busts Joseph Pulitzer, at vastly different ages, by Rodin. Dominating the center of the subtly lit warm brown toned modernized room was a beautiful stained glass window that resided in Pulitzer's "World" office. This piece depicted the Statue of Liberty flanked by two globes highlighted by a glorious bright yellow sun-lit background. It was dedicated to Herbert Bayard Swope, one of the editors of The World, first winner of the Prize in 1917 for reporting, and Great-Great Uncle to Bill Collins, President of TeleVector, Inc., a company dedicated to marrying satellite and fiber optic technology to allow new types of audio and video multicasting via the web. (People will be able to log into TeleVector's satellites over the web using their existing ISP connection to get real-time news and entertainment from around the world. They expect to have their first satellite operational in the fall of 1998.)

Pete Zollman (Interactive News Solutions) and Vin Crosbie (Digital Deliverance, biz planning for online newspapers) and I caught up with Shara Zoll (webmaster for Scientific American) who I hadn't seen in a dog's age from early cro-magnum pre-Netscape WWWAC meetings. I met John McGrath and some other people who redesigned the Pulitzer Prize website. Eileen Shulock, a managing editor and also Director of Webgrrls International with Aliza Sherman were expressing concern for Lori Schwab of NYNMA who broke her elbow several weeks ago during a charitable bike-a-thon. Send her well wishes! John Borthwick (Digital City Studio), Howard Greenstein (Microsoft), Sichel Jones (NYTimes Cyber writer), Austin Bunn (Wired News), Chris Allbritton (Associated Press), Will Chang (AP), and Norman Green (an investigative reporter for Inside Edition) were all indulging in the mouth-melting scrumptious apps being passed and the bevy of beverages available.

(Appeared originally in @The Scene in the @NY newsletter)