Competitive media world adjusts to post-gatekeeper role

NEW YORK: Today's media environment is more competitive and accountable to consumers than ever before, top journalists said Wednesday at the PRWeek NEXT Conference.

NEW YORK: Today's media environment is more competitive and accountable to consumers than ever before, top journalists said Wednesday at the PRWeek NEXT Conference.

Bill Holstein, president of the Overseas Press Club, said “the gatekeeper role has pretty much been shattered" in reference to the role media plays in disseminating information to the public at large.

In response to a question about whether digital newsrooms have adequate fact-checking ability, Todd Wassermann, business and marketing editor at Mashable, added that his site's readers quickly point out errors or what they interpret as sloppiness in stories.

“If someone had plagiarized a story, I think some of the readers would discover it quickly,” he said. “Readers are very astute, and they see the nuts and bolts of a lot of things.”

Members of the panel also defended the use of anonymous sources, which Dave Senay, president and CEO of Fleishman-Hillard, said often have a “corrosive effect” on reporting.

“Anonymous sources are critical to what we do,” said Spencer Ante, deputy New York bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal. “A lot of what goes into that, you don't see. We vet them and research if they're in a position to know…It does lead to better stories, and better information reaching the public.”

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