'Trust factor' key in media


RTÉ DIRECTOR general Noel Curran has stressed the importance of what he called the “trust factor” for “traditional legacy news organisations” in the internet age.

Speaking at a conference on the future of journalism at the Institute of International and European Affairs, he insisted there was still an appetite for traditional brands despite talk of the “death” of traditional news organisations.

“In a world where the barriers to entry are virtually nil, where technology is reducing the need for specialist production skills, where anyone can publish anything, what will prosper are those sources of news that are consistently relevant, flexible and trusted,” he said.

The Irish Times editor Kevin O’Sullivan said he was optimistic about a digital future for those capable of adapting quickly. “For traditional media businesses, it is change or die,” he said.

Mr O’Sullivan said “news as we know it” was under threat from an “inferior product where one eye is always trained on traffic numbers”.

However, he said there was a good opportunity for those who knew their audience intimately. “We are not for moving aside as others acting in their own self-interest dismiss us as a legacy player.”

Brian Fallon, director of Distilled Media Ltd which includes thejournal.ie, described the market as “insanely competitive”.

Mr Fallon said he would like to see RTÉ sharing content and collaborating with other journalistic outlets. He said user-generated content would be the core of any future journalistic product. “People do not really want to pay for news online,” Mr Fallon said.

Ann O’Dea, chief executive of siliconrepublic.com, said the industry was in a period of huge transition which created major risks for media owners, managers and journalists themselves.

She said journalists were going to have “to really re-look” at what they do.