Meredith Artley, the editor-in-chief for CNN Digital, was the speaker for the master class seminar I attended on Monday, Oct. 26. A MU J-School graduate in ’95, Artley spent time at the New York Times before making her way to Atlanta and begin working for CNN. The Kansas City native has a husband who is an ex-journalist (whom she met at the New York Times) as well as a 6-years old son. Her presentation was titled “Evolving Industry, Evolving Skills: How to Rebuild a Plane in Mid-Flight.”
She mentioned that CNN is #1 in terms of multi-platform views for the last five months (1.6 billion), uniques and page views, social, video, politics and in the top-five for their financial site. She mentions that her 250+ member staff is broken up into several departments (such as research or publishing) to make sure the system stays in check and is running at all cylinders.
Artley also mentioned that journalists should exercise their minds in shaping where to go for the future of the profession as well as stories. For this, she used the example of schools of thought during the rise of the Internet over the last twenty years. Thoughts evolved from “Put the newspaper online, but not before it’s on newsstands” to today’s mindset of “We’re ALL digital now.”
She went over five specific rules and tips that she wanted to highlight during the presentation for advice she would offer to current students. 1) “Look for the aHA! Moment” in a story. 2) Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” 3) Prioritize teamwork. 4) It’s all about the story. 5) It’s all about the user.
To her, the idea that journalism has a future that looks very bleak is not completely true. To her, she sees the future dominated by stories that take on multiple and multiple platforms. She sees creativity and outside-the-box thinking as an important aspect, as well. For the future of television, she mentioned its use in live-event broadcasting that still pulls in viewers. For this, she specifically mentioned the recent Democratic Presidential debate as an example.
One takeaway that I really liked was that she assured the audience that students do not have to be masters of EVERY Avenue of journalism, from writing to multimedia to editing. She emphasized working on your passion and craft, while also taking advice, tips and lessons from things and programs that interest you in the field. Overall, I thought it was a very worthwhile and enjoyable experience