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The mass media in the digital age: If the Media change, Society also changes.

Digitalization has fundamentally changed the traditional media landscape as well as the opinion-forming process, and will continue to do so over the coming years. This has also influenced corporate communications, in particular the collaboration with journalists who increasingly rely on paid content. A few selected positions from the discussion with the speakers:

Jeffrey Cole, Research Professor, USC Annenberg School

  • No medium will die, but the number and the size of the traditional media will become much smaller. Only the most profitable providers will survive. Social media, however, will continue to gain in importance. Corporate communications has to keep up with the developments in this area.

Ansgar Zerfass, Professor of Strategic Communication, University of Leipzig

  • How the significance of each medium will develop is disputed and also strongly influenced by an individual’s background. However, most European PR experts agree that strategic partnerships between corporate communications and the mass media will become more important in the future. They also agree that corporate media will greatly affect the shaping of public opinion.

Elisabeth Schick, Senior Vice President of Communications & Government Relations, BASF

  • Digitalization forces communicators to act and react extremely fast – this is a huge challenge in companies with complex structures. Media and especially social media can no longer be controlled. The top priority is to keep communication authentic.

Michael Brendel, Head of Global Digitalization Strategy, Volkswagen

  • At present, storytelling is the most important issue within the Volkswagen group and the most effective way of placing content. In the digital age, users can vote on the most interesting stories and communicate their preferences. In addition, we are also creating a new job description - the 'Digital Communicator'.