Media consumption, habits topic of forum

Kristen Russo

Kent State student media leaders talk about how they are preparing for the challenges facing their outlets today during a panel discussion Friday at the Media Mindsets Conference in Moulton Hall. GAVIN JACKSON | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

People use media for an average of nine hours a day – more time than most people spend sleeping.

“We insist on a background to life . That’s why we spend so much time with the media,” said Bob Papper, professor of telecommunications at Ball State and a speaker at the Media Mindsets Conference.

At the conference, titled “Where is My Audience Going? New Media, New Challenges, New Solutions,” which was held from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Friday in Moulton Hall, media experts discussed changes and the future of media.

Papper spoke about his findings from the Middletown Media Studies, a consumer-centric research project that observed people’s interactions with media. For example, many people have concurrent media exposure, meaning they multitask with media, Papper said. The No.1 multitasking activity is using the computer while watching TV.

Some of the other experts spoke about where the future of media is headed. Jung Kim, assistant professor of communication studies at Kent State, discussed media usage in South Korea, which she said was the most “wired” nation in the world.

South Korea is working toward quadruple play convergence with TV, phone and Internet service combined and offered through cellular phones, Kim said. South Korea’s goal is to have every home perfectly networked by 2010 so citizens can do everything – even go to doctor’s appointments – through their at-home networks.

Kim said most South Koreans are active participants in political and social issues because of their Internet obsession. But the downside is that many citizens have Internet addictions.

“We need to consider social and psychological impacts,” she said. “Always there is a problem. Always there is a darkside.”

Lauren Rich Fine, first vice president and managing director of Corporate Strategy and Research for Merrill Lynch’s Equity Research department, also talked about the news industry. She said because of the Internet, declining readership will continue to be a problem for many newspapers.

In the past, people didn’t start reading newspapers until they reached their 20s. Now people have grown up with computers and have been taught that everything they could need or want is available online. Because of this, Fine said she doesn’t think they will develop much interest in newspapers.

“The (newspaper) industry has been afraid of its own demise and has contributed to it,” Fine said.

She recommended newspapers cover more local news instead of national and world news, because people can find that information anywhere.

Papper’s research looked at how people get their news. He said most people get their news from local TV news programs and want news to be up-to-the-minute and on-demand. Sixty percent of people, mostly between ages 18 to 24, want to interact with news programs.

King Hill, president of DigiKnow Creative Marketing Technologies, said today’s media is driven by narcissism. The mass media has become micro; it’s geared toward individuals rather than a mass audience.

“It’s not called MySpace and YouTube for nothing,” Hill said.

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Kristen Russo at [email protected].