- Spring Seminar
PAGE SOCIETY SPRING SEMINAR - APRIL 2014
Jon Harris, CCO of The Hillshire Brands Company, kicked off his conversation with good friend Natalie Morales, Anchor and Co-Host of the third hour of TODAY, with a pop quiz. We quickly learned she’s experienced a lot in her days as a journalist, including eating grasshoppers, receiving singing tips from Liza Minnelli and getting slimed Nickelodeon-style on the air.It’s all in a day’s work for Morales. As a veteran of NBC News, she has also seen the evolution of broadcast journalism – the rise of 24 hour cable news, the introduction of multiple reporting platforms and inclusion of social within the broadcast. So how has the news changed in her view?
“For one, people are more engaged in what’s going on in the world, particularly because they feel they are participating,” said Morales. Enabled by a 24/7 conversation and multiple news sources, people are continually plugged in. In turn, it’s led to a more engaged newsroom. TODAY’s Orange Room, for example, was created to encourage a back and forth dynamic between the show and its audience. “We’re not just telling you stories, we hope you’re engaged.”
The always-on nature of news has increased pressure on journalists. Aside from having to always be in tune with what’s going on, the speed at which news is communicated has led to an environment where a lot of misinformation is reported. “Fair, balance and accuracy” was how Morales was taught, and she notes that despite the demand for information, her colleagues at NBC News are always looking to find the truth in stories rather than speculate.
“So what are the ambitions of reporters these days,” Morales was asked by a member of the audience. “When I came into this job, it was about being an objective reporter,” she said. But more and more you see the expectation that journalists inject opinion and personality into their reporting. That’s how social has changed the world – people want to have the water cooler conversation, with the feel of accuracy and balance. The balance says Morales, is that she tries to always be a reporter first and a news anchor second.
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