Social media earned a mention in the annual White House Correspondents Dinner tonight, with President Obama quipping, ‘But even though the mainstream press gives me a hard time, I hear that I’m still pretty big on Twitter, Facebook … or as Sarah Palin calls it, the socialized media.’ [1:25 in the second clip below]
As in previous years, the decline of the newspaper at the hands of free online alternatives formed part of the narrative in the humorous 20-minute monologue. Obama said of the news industry’s transition, ‘People say to me, “Mr President, you helped revive the banking industry. You’ve saved GM and Chrysler — what about the news business? I have to explain, hey, I’m just the President. I’m not a miracle worker here.”‘
The President’s closing remarks were ultimately optimistic about the state of news, online and off: ‘For all the changes and challenges facing your industry, this country absolutely needs a healthy, vibrant media. Probably needs it more than ever now. Today’s technology has made it possible for us to get our news and information from a growing range of sources; we can pick and choose not only our preferred type of media but also our preferred perspective. And while that exposes us to an unprecedented array of opinions, analysis and points of view, it also makes it that much more important that we’re all operating on a common baseline of facts … every single reporter in this room believes deeply in the enterprise of journalism.”
There’s good news, too, for the online army of Conan O’Brien supporters known as I’m With COCO — Obama was much, much funnier that the official comedy act of the night, Jay Leno.