Can old media survive the digital revolution?

Walt Mossberg is the author and creator of the weekly Personal Technology column in The Wall Street Journal, which has appeared every Thursday since 1991.  With Kara Swisher, he currently co-produces and co-hosts D: All Things Digital, a major high-tech conference with interviewees such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and many other leading players in the tech and media industries. The gathering is considered one of the leading conferences focused on the convergence of tech and media industries.  In addition to Personal Technology, Mr. Mossberg also writes the Mossberg's Mailbox column in the Journal and edits the Mossberg Solution column, which is authored by his colleague Katherine Boehret. On television, Mr. Mossberg is a regular technology commentator for the CNBC network, where he appears every Thursday on the mid-day Power Lunch program. He is also a regular contributor to Dow Jones Video on the Web.

In a major 2004 profile of Mr. Mossberg, entitled "The Kingmaker," Wired Magazine declared: "Few reviewers have held so much power to shape an industry's successes and failures." Mr. Mossberg was awarded the 1999 Loeb award for Commentary, the only technology writer to be so honored. In May of 2001, he received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Rhode Island. In May of 2002, he was inducted into the ranks of the Business News Luminaries, the hall of fame for business journalists. That same year, he won the World Technology Award for Media and Journalism.

  • Transcript


Walt Mossberg: Well I actually think the digitalization of the world, or the digital tidal wave that’s sweeping through the world is touching every kind of industry and walk of life. I don’t care if you’re a pre-school teacher, a parish priest, the CEO of General Motors, or a newspaper publisher or editor. It’s touching your life.

The media companies, whether it’s entertainment or information, have been especially hard hit by the change because the Internet is a great platform for media.

Really if you think about it, despite all the hype about video on the Internet and the fact that these videos will be on the Internet, it is still today as we speak in September of 2007 overwhelmingly a text medium. And so it’s a direct competitor for newspapers and magazines. And newspapers and magazines have not been the best managed companies, no matter how good their journalism is. And they have not necessarily been the most entrepreneurial and flexible companies, but they have been hard hit.

I don’t believe journalism as we know it is going away at all. In fact I think all the evidence is it’s booming and expanding. But journalism, as done only by a small group of professional journalists; and only on dead trees; or only on official television networks--that kind of journalism is being radically transformed and challenged by journalism carried on the Internet.

But it’s still journalism.


Recorded on: Sep 13, 2007