Early this morning, I tried to illustrate the immediate future potential of the Internet as a multi-media source. If members of the paleomedia had read my posting, perhaps would not have been necessary:
As traditional news outlets like newspapers magazines and TV stations grapple with moving online, they must cultivate key audiences including 35- to 44-year-olds, who are the biggest consumers of online sources a study shows. Some 24 percent of this demographic, which includes members of Generation X and Baby Boomers, get their news online.
Most of what the old guard needs to do to be competitive online is not all that complicated. Throw a few pictures or some video online to compliment the story. Allow for blog style commentary. Quit dumping the archives after a week or two. Allow for RSS or similar syndication. Of course, other coding bells and whistles are helpful, as well. For some reason, media magnates don’t seem to get it, though:
“The issue that hangs like a cloud for everybody in this area is ‘How can I do this without harming my traditional media property?’” said Barry Parr, Jupiter media analyst and author of the report. “That’s a hard question.” The Internet has created new habits and consumption patterns as audiences migrate to the web.
The solution is so simple I’m perplexed that this is even an issue. Keep your ink or broadcast medium going as long as it is drawing a profit. At the same time, compliment your old world journalistic medium with new world enhancements. If you ever have to shut your old medium down, the new medium can be drawing a profit in its new non-geographically limited market. In the mean time, both media can compliment each other. A classic example of print and online media working together is Reason.
Those concerned about harming their “traditional media property” ought to be more concerned about some local blogger eventually shutting down their business. Market share is not real property, and it can be taken by anyone. Instead of being concerned about using monopolistic powers to protect what is not rightfully theirs, they should be concentrating on earning as large a stake as possible of the Internet.
I think I see part of the problem, though:
Indeed, traditional media has a lot of work to do on the web, the report says. Most local print media and TV news stations are reaching only one-quarter to one-third of their potential audience, Jupiter said. And it’ll stay that way unless traditional media companies begin to exploit the web’s interactivity and other possibilities.
It is kind of hard for the authoritarians of the old school to understand how to react to community, peer-to-peer and bottom-up mechanisms of communications. Imagine a reporter who actually has blog commentary about the article he/she just wrote. Better get those facts straight and report fairly, or you will get caught. Imagine having many media sources for one town, as opposed to the traditional two papers and a handful of television stations.
It’s a new world out there, which is kind of scary to those who have been able dominate their community press without having to provide quality or real time journalism. The barred windows of the traditional media are being replaced by the open doorways of the new media, and it’s about damn time!