The Future of Digital Media explored during UT SAGE’s Winter 2013 Forum


On Monday, January 14, the university’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (UT OLLI) and the university’s School of Journalism teamed up to hold a special forum on the evolution of our current media environment in the digital age. The event, called the “Future of Digital Media,” was the Winter 2013 Forum for UT OLLI’s UT SAGE program. Speakers included former newspaper executive Kevin Barry, Editor-in-Chief and CEO of The Texas Tribune Evan Smith, and UT School of Journalism professor Rosental Alves.

The speakers each shared their own unique viewpoints on where journalism has been and where it is going. Not only are the mediums changing, from traditional newspapers and TV broadcasts to 24-hour news cycles, social media and the internet, but the public’s expectations of the news, how they like to receive it, and even their civic participation, has changed as well. This has all added up to a media landscape described by Rosental Alves as “radical…The old models can’t work in this new environment.” Alves, Barry and Smith spent an afternoon leading a lively and challenging conversation with the UT SAGE membership exploring potential scenarios for the future of journalism. “I’m very optimistic about journalism, so my hopes for the future are many,” said Evan Smith. “This is an era of entrepreneurship in the news…I think that [the evolution] has democratized the media and it’s a great thing and a hopeful time to be doing this.”

This event is just an example of the kinds of thought-provoking and provocative programming being created in UT OLLI. Each of UT OLLI’s programs – UT FORUM, UT LAMP, UT NOVA, UT QUEST and UT SAGE – are made up of active lifelong learners in the Greater Austin community looking to find intellectual stimulation at the university. They find it at UT OLLI. Members of each program manage their program’s curriculum and membership to provide a wide spectrum of exciting seminars, lectures, trips and social opportunities.

Speaker Kevin Barry, also a member of UT SAGE, offered, “The great thing that I have found about SAGE and OLLI is that there is no characteristic presentation. It’s so broad…and you’re sharing with people who are engaging and intellectually curious…It’s just a wonderful experience, both the people and the programs that we are exposed to.”

Another example of UT OLLI’s programming was reported in the Fort Hood Sentinel. Members of UT FORUM hit the road to Fort Hood, Texas to learn more about U.S. Army training and military family support services. While on the base, UT FORUM members were able to handle military weapons, climb into tank simulators and watch a squad demonstrate entering and clearing a building. Additional UT OLLI visits to Fort Hood are planned for March and April.

For more information about UT OLLI and membership opportunities, please visit them online.


Tags: ut sage, ut olli, texas tribune, school of journalism, rosental alves, osher lifelong learning institute, olli, lifelong learning, kevin barry, evan smith,