Lewis B. O'Donnell Media Summit returns to campus – Oswegonian

The Independent Student Newspaper of Oswego State
The Lewis B. O’Donnell media summit returned to campus on Oct. 27 after being virtual last year due to COVID-19. Waterman Theatre in Tyler Hall was turned into a red carpet entrance in the lobby of the building and the backdrop for the usual panel of media experts to discuss this year’s theme. 
The theme was “On-Demand In Demand: Audiences and the Future of Video Streaming,” featuring the panel of Renard Jenkins, Jamie Duemo, Chrissy Guest and Frank Palumbo. Palumbo, a 1983 graduate of SUNY Oswego was the only alumni on the panel. 
Jenkins is the vice president of content transmission and production technology for Warner Media. Duomo is a Media and Entertainment Business Development Leader for Amazon Web Service. Guest is currently an Associate Professor of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies at Ithaca College. While Palumbo is Vice President of Local Television for Nielsen. 
The panel discussed the hybrid model of working in the media industry going forward and this was on full display as Palumbo and Jenkins both contributed to the panel from a Zoom link. Both, several hundreds of miles away from SUNY Oswego. Vastly different from the usual fully in-person event that was seen from 2005 until 2019 before the pandemic. 
SUNY Oswego student Abigail Czerwonka was the event director and introduced the event from a podium on stage. Czerwonka expressed thanks to the SUNY Oswego School of Communications, Media and the Arts in her remarks for allowing the event to be possible. She also thanked SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley before welcoming Stanley to the stage. 
Stanley introduced the panelists and also remarked on the need for television in each person’s life over the recent tough times as a form of comfort. 
“For decades television has comforted us,” Stanley said. “I know that during hard times it has served as an escape from life’s challenges. Giving us a chance to laugh, a chance to relate, a chance to be transported to a different time or a different place. A different reality. And how much have we needed that over the course of the past 19 months.” 
The first major topic of the summit centered around the shift from traditional broadcast television to streaming models. The emphasis being put on the broadcast networks embracing this shift. Duemo took the lead on the discussion during the middle portion and focused on the opportunities that this has created for local markets as well. 
“It actually provides more outlets for content to be published to,” Duemo said. “A lot of work I have been doing with my customers has been how do we harness and enrich data. So, that content becomes intelligent.” 
Duemo continued to say that the sharing of this information and content allows for the local news journalists on traditional television formats to focus on story arc and persona instead of just research.
 The discussion pivoted to the best model for streaming services, if it was content with standard advertisements or premium accounts without. Palumbo had the strongest sentiment on the one way streamers could go wrong with their advertising choices. 
“I think the over-the-top services have benefited from less ad clutter,” Palumbo said. “I think the commercial pop-ups are shorter and more tolerable. I think if the streamers build up a lot of clutter, too many ads like traditional cable. Then they could be in some trouble.” 
A major topic discussed and analyzed during the middle portion of the event centered around the topic of appointment television. Or the traditional cable viewing experience that many college students grew up with but now have alternatives to. The streaming services have started to creep back towards this model. Netflix, Hulu and Apple TV all have shows that come out each week on a single day. Different from the original binge-like experience each offered. Jenkins believes that keeping a live-feel or the appointment television model is accomplished through interacting between audience and shows. 
“Everybody wants to watch [sports and music] live,” Jenkins said. “That is because they want to comment on it during the actual event. So, I think when we tap into that recipe for interacivity from your audience. You can get that live feeling back.” 
The panel closed by answering some rapid fire type questions for the final 15 minutes of the summit. The key topic discussed during this was what skills that employers are looking from entry-level workers. A topic that relates directly to the audience of media college students in attendance. Guest went into detail about the ability for a successful worker to stand out due to their digital skills and the ability to stand out with digital media compared to others. 
“You need to be versatile,” Guest said. “You need to be able to pivot and you need to be able to manage in-person and remote. So, I would say the organizational skills, the communication skills [are most important].”
She went on to suggest that students have an advantage when it comes to digital content due to the ability to put it out now and do so consistently. This is vastly different from sending demo reels a generation ago by mail, according to Guest. She urged students to take advantage of this. 
The event closed out by faculty advisor Michael Riecke thanking the panel and making sure that students knew to participate in the career connector event which featured six recent SUNY Oswego alumnus working in the media industry. 
The 2021 Media summit signifies the return of the event in-person after being virtual due to COVID-19. The discussion faced the reality of how the industry is changing after the pandemic and how streaming is pushing that change.
William Rogers | The Oswegonian
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