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Public editor: A thought-provoking, positive night for journalists

Sylvia Stead is The Globe's first-ever public editor.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

I was at another sold-out debate Thursday sponsored by the Canadian Journalism Foundation on Reinventing the Modern Newspaper. It was a thought-provoking and positive night for journalists.

Editors in chief from major publications all had pretty much the same message: that print journalism is alive and well, but that journalists need to think differently and work with experts on audience and community issues. As well, all companies need to think like entrepreneurs and take chances on expanding the business.

CJF chair Bob Lewis noted that this event was happening on the same day as Newsweek's announcement that it was going digital -only and dropping the printed magazine. Globe and Mail Editor-in Chief John Stackhouse said there is a hunger for quality journalism all around the world and he believes people will pay for both great journalism and a great experience. Postmedia's Lou Clancy said news has become like the bionic man, with so many platforms, but print remains the core. He said journalists need to think and work like entrepreneurs: think big and think about your community. Metro's Charlotte Empey said the media can't just tinker with renovations. It must think about what it could be if owners and senior editors started from scratch. Michael Cooke said The Toronto Star has been creative about circulation ideas such as charging extra to subscribers who want the television listings included, or jointly delivering with The Globe and Mail in Toronto. He said that with imagination, there has never been a better time to be a young journalist in this city. Moderator Scott White noted that news is ubiquitous. It is on elevators, on your phones, on screens in your office.

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There was a discussion about anonymous comments on stories and how at times the conversations can veer into mud-slinging and attacks. Mr. Clancy said he prefers that if you have something to say, you put your name to it.

Here's a link to the CJF live blog from last night.

As usual, if you have any comments on this blog post or questions for me, please e-mail me at publiceditor@globeandmail.com

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