D-Day for the Newspaper Industry?
After much bedroom blog reading over the years, annoying quite a number of top guns in the technology and Political arena, I have finally decided to come out of the closet and start (Yes Start!) my very own blog!
Well so much for my welcoming party! Now its time to get down to business.
Those of you who are informed of the current web 2.0 sensation and how some pundits are declaring the decaying of the media and newspaper industry. Here’s a nice article by Robert Scooble which i picked on Don Dodge’s blog The next Big thing (yet another testament to the success of blogs!) http://scobleizer.com/2007/03/24/newspapers-are-dead/
Now I understand the concerns are real and very relevant but it’s funny how we tend to look at things from a small perspective. I posted a response on Don’s blog, where I attempt to discern the print indusrty’s decline due to social evolution rather than just training journalist for the online world. The newspaper industry was threatened by mass- consumerism and celebrity related magazines in a not so distant past and the major reason for their failure was the shift of individuals from Citizens towards consumers (Our thanks go to Edward Bernays and his Public relations! Do read up on him, he is one of those hidden figures who has had a major conscious or should i say ‘Sub Conscious’ impact on the American population). History is old but it is an important lesson for those who wish to avoid mistakes…
I Posted this reply on The Next Big Thing: http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/
“That is a very interesting point and one that has been prevalent for several years now. However there is one important thing which needs to be understood and when we talk about newspaper and magazines we have to define its content as-well.
The print media even before the threat of the internet has been going through drastic changes. People were moving away from citizen related information towards Consumer related ones. Time magazine which at one time would not even consider celebrity news had started including such content on it’s cover page. Today, Reporters who cover war stories are paid far less than a paparazzi taking a picture of Angelina Jolie’s latest affair (it is sad but true). The underlying cause of this trend was not the magazines themselves but the demand of individuals which moved towards mass consumerism.
With the advent of the Internet and web2.0, the trends again seem to have changed as individuals have found new avenues to discuss and find content information. Partly to blame is of-course the print media itself as most magazines recently are more about glamour and glitz than quality content. The other part is the demand by individuals, the Internet offers a more interactive way of sharing information and as the web penetrates more globally we will see this trend increasing. Magazines and newspaper have been and still are an essential part of human society. We are curious creatures and information is something we all thirst for since childhood. The print industry was a direct byproduct to fill this need. In the end the medium may change but the flow of information and hopefully knowledge will continue to spread.
Personally I believe The news media on their part should consider the following measures:
1) Provide more than just news content on their websites. Attempt to develop a community. New updates on Reuters, ABC etc are a good start. Allowing Journalists to blog is also a step in the right direction
2) Stop competing on the web arena and actually collaborate online. It might sound strange but having one platform to direct all online users would be much more effective than diverting users here and there. This unfortunately will never happen as such a thing is not present in the DNA of the print industry.
3) Start taking some risks. They have the brand name which gives them an edge over new competitors.
4) Start thinking globally for online content. Reuters and BBC are doing a great job but they need to have more international interactions on their website. It’s one thing to send an American to cover a story but entirely different to have local journalists and individuals tell their stories as well.
5) Maintain values. Several of the big tech-bloggers and pundits today consider video, blogs and portals to be the most important aspects online today but I believe that values such as Trust and Honesty rank a little higher than distribution mediums and will continue to play an important role in the coming years.
I will be trying to address some of these issues in my upcoming project http://www.UReporting.com . Let’s see how it works out :)”
Feedback is most welcome