Ken Aluetta Speaks at Stony Brook

Ken Aluetta, writer for The New Yorker, spoke with Stony Brook’s Dean Howard Schneider at the 2011 News Literacy Conference, which was held in the Yang Auditorium this past Thursday.

Aluetta, who also wrote for the Village Voice and the New York Post, discussed an array of topics ranging from  journalism ethics, competing markets and most importantly- the rapid change currently taking place within the industry.

At the beginning of Aluetta’s interview, he mentioned how he returned from Afghanistan last spring and the media dynamics within the country. He told the audience of the country’s lack of newspapers due to lack of literacy. He went further to mention that the impact of Afghan Idol (similar to American Idol) was making more of an impact than the presence of US soldiers.

Aluetta also remarked candidly on business tycoons: he mentioned Bill Gates lack of people skills and how Steve Jobbs currently looks terrible in person.

Not all his commentary was negative though. He did call Jobbs the “Thomas Edison” of our generation.

“I wouldn’t want to work for him,” Aluetta said, “but I think he’s a genius.”

Aluetta also feels that competition will benefit not only the new online journalism industry, but the consumer as well. Apple for instance, will eventually lower prices, according to Aluetta’s predictions, in effort to keep up with other brands of tablets.

Aluetta also addressed the state of television news today. He says unlike the 60’s and 70’s a “common set of facts” do not exist, thus leading to turmoil between not only regular citizens, but between senators and other politicians. Those who watch MSNBC and those who watch FOX are going to have different facts, thus adding to the conflicts we see today in Washington.


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