Guest speaker addresses the “Death of News”

It was 6:50 p.m. on Sept. 6  and the Ballroom at the Northern Kentucky University Student Union sat nearly empty. A few student members of the Activities Programming Board and President of Student Government waited there with the guest speaker who was supposed to begin at seven.

SGA and APB hosted Phillip Milano, an “award-winning laid off journalist” after 25 years in the business. Milano came to NKU to talk with students about the “Death of News.”

Milano addressed a crowd of about 20 students about the dying newsroom of today. To begin the presentation, he introduced several headlines and then asked the crowd to confirm which ones were true and which ones were false. He told the crowd to use their smart phones and devices to help them. Then he would ask if the headline was true or false. Often the crowd was divided, some saying true and others saying false.

Milano would then ask them what online sources they used and would say whether it was true or false. The exercise was to show the mass amount of information on the internet and how the public is beginning to have a hard time discerning what it true and what is false in the information flow.

“As we watch the implosion of the vilified mainstream media of which I was a member, a last bashing of truth and sanitization,” he said, “ You are now piecing out there alone having to dig through or climb over a pile of hoofoo in order to find what is real and what is simulated.”

“You’re on your own and I think something is wrong with that, something is wrong in cyberspace,” said Milano.

Milano continued by saying he was not here to bash blogging or social networks, “We’re all looking at them.” He said that two thirds of bloggers  reported in surveys that they rely on Twitter for their research.

As a former journalist, Milano spent time talking to the students about the new way journalists have to work today, and the things Milano himself did not do. Twitter, tapping phones, used the phrase “some people say” before reporting the truth. And he “never wrote 169 stories about a murder trial because defendant was hot looking. Well somebody did.”

He said “they’re probably still employed” “Most of us though are clean, ethical, innocent, and a hard workers like all of those coming after us. Because of that you have a job, now it has been laid in your lap and you should be afraid,” said Milano. He went on to explain that without professional fact gatherers and news writers there is no filter on the mass amounts of information.

According to Milano, there are fewer and fewer traditional news gatherers, newspaper reporters, magazine writers. There are far more people willing to cough up facts, instead they’re finding and adding their own little twist to the news on TV or on blogs.