Evan Smith talks digital journalism


Gabriella Belzer

Evan Smith, Texas Tribune founder and CEO, expressed optimism about the future of journalism Thursday in a lecture in the Joynes Reading Room. He argued that the digital transformation of news is an important part of the industry’s future success.

Barak Bullock

Journalism trailblazer Evan Smith showed optimism for the future of digital news during a lecture Thursday in the Joynes Reading Room.

In “The Evolution will be Digitized: The Future of New News,” Smith explained how the digital transformation of news should be met by current and aspiring journalists. 

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization, using an all-digital platform to cover state government and public policy in Texas. 

According to Matthew Valentine, senior program coordinator for the Joynes Reading Room, as the editor-in-chief and CEO of The Texas Tribune, Smith has experienced the new frontier of journalism firsthand. 

“By creating The Texas Tribune, Smith was a pioneer in this transitional period in journalism,” Valentine said.

Simply put, Smith’s view of future journalism and the opportunities for future journalists is optimistic. 

“I do believe that, contrary to what you may have heard about this being the worst possible time to be both in school and to be getting out of school and look for work in the media, I think this is the absolute best time for that, that I’m aware of,” Smith said. “I envy the kids getting out of school today.”

Smith said current students have the advantage of growing up in a technological world, making the acquisition of competitive skills more natural to them. Additionally, he warned that those skills have now become necessary for work in journalism.

“You are first-generation technophiles … You have skills we need to be competitive,” Smith said. “You get out of school today, you better be able to edit video, edit audio, you gotta be able to do a little bit of HTML coding, you gotta be able to write, you gotta be able to take photos, you’ve got to be a Swiss army knife.”