CBS executive tells students not to be afraid of technology

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    By ANDREA LAYCOCK

    A top CBS executive warned students in a symposium Jan. 20 that if they are not prepared, they will fall by the wayside of new technology trends in the 21st century.

    “Are you ready?” asked Allison Davis, vice president of CBS’s syndication unit Eyemark Entertainment, as she encouraged students to embrace changes in communication.

    “Don’t be scared. Nobody has answers, but you have opportunities and resources to learn about the future of the mediums.”

    — Allison Davis, vice president of CBS’s syndication unit Eyemark Entertainment

    “Emerging technology is exciting, but it can also be frightening,” said Davis. “It is exciting because there are so many places to tell our stories, and frightening because of what is up ahead.”

    Davis told students that traditional jobs will still exist in the future, but not for long.

    “In the next few years or months, we will see the most dramatic changes ever,” Davis said.

    She said people cannot think of text, audio and video individually because all these mediums are starting to converge.

    Davis also spoke of the recent alliance between ABC News and the New York Times that produced an Internet program on the presidential race. Davis told students to be prepared for similar alliances.

    “Being well prepared and thinking differently will help define our future,” Davis said.

    John Dancy, an interim director of international media studies, said Davis recognized the value and potential of the Internet in its earlier stages to help make NBC News a force in the news business. Davis said she was impressed with the students and faculty at BYU and their ability to stay current with media trends.

    “The faculty at BYU is interested in giving the best, up-to-date information in the industry,” Davis said.

    A mother of two boys, Davis insists that she be introduced as a mother first before she speaks to groups. She does this to remind students that they will be mentors to a younger generation.

    “There is an entire generation that has learned differently, and that’s the demographic group you will be writing and programming for,” she said.

    Davis said she refuses to do anything that compromises her ethical standards and encourages students to do the same.

    “I have raised my voice loud and clear about things I will not do. If there is something that you know to be wrong, you need to voice it,” Davis said.

    “Don’t be scared,” Davis said, when asked how students can be better prepared for changes in technology. “Nobody has answers, but you have opportunities and resources to learn about the future of the mediums.”

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