Thursday, February 25, 2010

Writers Guild of America East Launches Digital Media Education Program

Over 200 Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) members and friends jammed the Paley Center for Media last night for the launch of its new digital media education program’s inaugural seminar, “The Economics of Digital Media.” Economics of Digital Media” is the first in the WGAE’s recently announced Writers Guild 2.0 initiative. "The fundamental goal of the Writers Guild 2.0 initiative is to ensure that creators are at the table as decisions are made about these basic issues," WGA East exec director Lowell Patterson told Variety last month. "The enormous potential of digital media won't mean much if writers and other creators can't make a living, or if they must cede creative control."

Last night's event comes on the heels of ABC's demoralizing move to cut 300 staffers. ABC News, which employs about 1500 people, is offering voluntary buyouts to non-union staff over the next few weeks, working with unions, including WGA East.

The evening's presenters were Anita Ondine, CEO of Seize the Media, Mo Koyfman, principal at Spark Capital, a venture capital firm focused on the media, entertainment and tech industries, and Mark Lukasiewicz, vice president of NBC News specials and digital media.

"Americans are consuming more video content than ever before, on more devices, in more places, and it's never been more clear that quality counts … It's a mistake to think all the rules of the game have changed," NBC's Mark Lukasiewicz told the audience. "Facts still matter. Sharp analysis still matters. Strong narratives and compelling characters still matter. Almost all of the things that made great TV journalism a generation ago still make great video storytelling today."

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