ONA 2006 Conference and Awards Banquet

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Posted: October 7, 2006 10:40 AM
Online maverick Mark Cuban: 'Internet old news'

By Catherine Andrews

Wearing jeans, sneakers, and with a Diet Coke in hand, blogger and entrepreneur Mark Cuban gave the luncheon keynote at the Online News Association Conference, engaging in questions and answers with an eager audience who wanted to know his thoughts on topics from YouTube to copyright issues to Cuban's daily reading habits.

Starting off his appearance with a response that Google, who is rumored to be acquiring YouTube, would be "crazy, crazy, crazy" to do so, Cuban used copyright issues he sees as YouTube's failing for a
launching pad to address other issues of technology facing traditional media today.

"I still think copyright legislation is too draconian right now," Cuban said. "But the laws are the laws, and YouTube is trying to hide...A site that is built on copyright fraud is set up to fail, and [YouTube] is going to get crushed."

Moving on to traditional media outlets, Cuban said that the media--both in print and the Web--were complementary and that what draws readers today isn't the technology--it's the quality of theproduct.

"What do you have access to that distinguishes you?" Cuban asked. "What are the assets you have in terms of writers? What are the skills they have that allow you to distinguish your organization from everyone else?" Figure those out, he said, then "just lever the hell
out of them."

Calling the Internet "old news," Cuban said that the biggest issue facing media today is how to market their product and figure out new ways to deliver content into the hands of the consumers.

"Don't focus so much on the technology," he advised, "but how you're going to get the message out and how you're going to get it in the right hands."

Admitting he didn't have the answer yet to how to do that, Cuban said that experimentation was key for news organizations, and it was up to them to try multiple ways of implementing ideas.

"Part of your job is to put [news] in a format that people want to receive it in," Cuban said. You just gotta experiment. But once you capture it you can implement it so many differ net ways. And something
will work and will surprise you and will change how people will consume your content."

He added, "Whoever captures it that way first, wins."

Back to 2006 conference page

Seventh Annual Conference
and Awards Banquet

October 5-7, 2006
Capital Hilton
Washington, D.C.

Conference chair:
Jody Brannon, MSN.com
E-mail your questions or suggestions.

Next year: The 2007 ONA conference is scheduled for Oct. 17-19 in Toronto. The conference chair is Ju-Don Roberts, washingtonpost.com. E-mail your questions or suggestions.

Newsroom: The 2006 conference Web site was produced by the ONA student newsroom, which is supported by the Gannett Foundation and volunteers from media organizations and academia.

Volunteers: Countless volunteer hours went into planning this conference. Thanks to all who gave generously of their time and ideas.

ONA & Flickr: Did you take photos at the conference? Share them with your peers at the ONA Flickr Photo Pool. Upload your photos and see the images from last year.

Don't know the town very well? Consult our ONA visitors guide for journalists, courtesy of washingtonpost.com.

More useful links:

  • Capital Hilton
  • Directions to the hotel
  • Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Smithsonian
  • Metro map

    The 2006 Online News Association Conference is the premier conference for those who work in, or have an interest in, online media and news. The Online Journalism Awards Banquet honors the very best online journalism produced in the past year.

    The Online Journalism Awards have become the top awards in online journalism. Each year a distinguished panel of judges selects the very best work in nine different categories to be honored at the awards. The OJA Banquet is the event where the awards are presented, and the winners are honored for their efforts.