By Laura Smith
October 15, 2008
Michael Clemente, executive producer of ABC Digital News, did not just begin his career in the newsroom but in the newsroom of ABC World News in New York City.
Entering into the television industry in 1978, Clemente pursued his passion for broadcast at ABC News, CNN, This Week With George Stephanopoulos and eventually landed back at ABC working with the late Peter Jennings on ABC World News Tonight.
Clemente came to Elon University to speak with students and faculty on the effects of changing media on October 10.
“Everybody is dealing with change,” Clemente said. “But this industry I think has been something that has just kind of been able to slowly deal with change over the years…I think by any standard the change of the past 10 or so years has just been faster than anyone anticipated.”
Clemente attributed this change to the advancement of technology.
“It’s so much easier for people to get news and information and entertainment than ever before,” he said. “Technology has made the ability to be informed that much easier for people…there is no excuse for not being informed.”
Clemente discussed the five aspects of news he has seen change.
The first was the use of video. He mentioned how years ago film had to be developed but now it can be shot, edited, and posted on the Internet in a matter of hours if not minutes. Because of this, there is much more competition to be the first to report on a story.
The second was the idea of the “dilemma” of fact-based information, which is to say that there seems to be no original stories anymore.
“There’s just a blur out there because there are fewer organizations that are gathering news now but 50 times more that are distributing them,” Clemente said.
Another change in media Clemente discussed was the large number of news outlets and national broadcasters that now exist. He mentioned that it used to just be Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, and Tom Brokaw. Now there are more broadcasters to get the news out to the public faster.
Clemente said this in not always a good thing however.
“Some consistency in who you’re hearing it from can make a difference,” he said.
Next, Clemente mentioned the business of news. He said that regarding the economics of journalism, digital media is taking over and the business model for this does not yet exist.
Finally, Clemente discussed the struggle between partial stories and full reports in reporting an issue.
By this, Clemente meant that stories can be edited so quickly and easily now that relevant information can be dismissed in a report.
“There’s such an appetite for information so quickly now, that bits and pieces of stories are being put out,” he said.
Clemente left the students with some advice that he has learned in his career.
“The more balanced you can become and the more open you can become to what’s out there, the better off you will be in doing this craft.”