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Q&A: BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones

Rory Cellan-Jones#aopsummit Moderator Rory Cellan-Jones
BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones is the Moderator of our flagship annual event, the AOP Digital Publishing Summit on 14 October (book your place here.) He will also chair a panel on the day called 'Openness vs Privacy – Drawing new journalistic lines', featuring Mumsnet, Heat, Digital Spy and Lewis Silkin. With less than two weeks to the event, we asked Rory's views on the top challenges and opportunities for publishers, and the state of journalism in the wake of hack-gate: What would you say are the biggest challenges facing publishers? Publishers are in a conflict between the threat of the digital age and an uncertain regulatory landscape. While piecing together their own digital strategies, they’re also trying to adapt to an ever greater public focus on their activities. They’re perceived as continually having to play catch-up – watching as Apple takes one part of their business, or Amazon comes along and changes the rules again – they need to get on the front foot, both internally – running the business, and externally – changing consumer perceptions for the better. You’re chairing a panel for us at the event called ‘Openness vs Privacy – Drawing new journalistic lines’ – what do you think will be the long-term effects of hack-gate and the Leveson Inquiry? I think all journalists, from whatever background, are asking themselves fundamental questions about their trade – from regulation, to how the public views them. The long-term danger is that we might see a more cautious industry emerge – unwilling to take any risks – and a neutering of investment in good investigative reporting. Editors and proprietors of media companies might simply be asking themselves: why invest in something that could pose such great risks to your reputation? On the positive side, hack-gate is making us think more clearly about some of the questionable activities that became accepted practice in the industry, and is seeing us place more value on really good journalism. What do you see as the big opportunities for publishers in the coming months? Publishers really need to think about how people will consume content on the mobile internet – people unwilling to pay in certain arenas, are more than willing in others – and in the case of mobile, they seem prepared to pay even for things as simple as convenience. Coming on the back of the Amazon Fire announcement and the success of the FT’s HTML5 app, the timing of the AOP Summit sees the balance of power tilted slightly in content owners’ favour. There’s been much hand-wringing at media conferences in the past over how publishers can adapt, but I’m looking forward to what I think will be a highly positive day on 14 October.

See Rory speak at the AOP Summit on 14 October both chairing the main event, and the 'openness vs. privacy' panel, with Digital Spy, Mumsnet, BBC and Lewis Silkin - book your place here.

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