Posts Tagged ‘journalists’

How News Brands Use Social Media and Social Gadgets To Connect With Audience

Monday, June 28th, 2010


While everyone depicts the demise of newspapers, the art of news gathering has never been stronger. 

We’ll get this out of the way first, the newspaper industry as a distribution model is in a downward spiral.  Newspaper printing and physical distribution is an expensive proposition and with circulation in decline, the money (advertisers) are moving to greener pastures.   Advertisers are going online where they get broader exposure for cheaper rates with more access to return on investment numbers (analytics, click-throughs, etc).  That puts the traditional newsprint model in serious jeopardy.

News gathering on the other hand, has exploded.  If you consider the amount of content being created across blogging sites, video site (YouTube), podcasts, social networking sites and micro-blogging sites the numbers are astounding.  What’s subject, you might argue, is the quality of the content.  Therein lies the problem, with so much noise (content) out there, it is much harder for traditional content creators to match the velocity (speed and distribution) that news has taken on.  Journalists must fight fire with fire, not a garden hose.  Interestingly enough, journalists had the exposure, the resources and the networks to be able to do exactly what bloggers and other new-age news gatherers are doing today, just not the necessity.  As the early bloggers received much fanfare for regurgitating news found on the web, professional journalists resorted to this as well as a way to get the news out faster, not better.

Now the tides are turning.  Journalists who understand story-telling and fact-finding are now beginning to get necessity.  They are exploring new ways of developing news and planting seeds to better understand news as it happens.  There are some good examples already that I got from Vadim Lavrusik, who writes for Mashable, like the living stories project between Google and NYT’s and the invent of news streams, or news as it happens from sources like Twitter that break news sometimes hours before traditional media taps in.

What’s missing though is the transformation.  Journalists and newspapers are still doing the same things just with shinier toys and fancier widgets.  That’s motion not transformation.  Let’s stretch a bit and see what we could come up with.  How about if….

  • Journalists became masters of their networks. Use Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to manage a network of experts around any topic that might come up.  Have a local chemical spill?  Might help to know that there are 17 local chemical engineers and 7 local retired hazmat experts from the government within 10 miles of the accident.  With all the social networking, no one is connecting the dots locally.  The one who does, will become the modern day tribal leader.
  • News organizations teamed with Gov2.0.  Every government agency is falling over themselves to get up-to-speed in the digital world.  Think of the mashups you could create with the resources of the newspaper and the data of the local government.  If something happens, look who’s sitting on the data streams and information already.
  • Local advertising.  Newspaper sales used to be the only ones in town with access to every local business.  Why they did not offer every local business an enhanced listing on a Yelp type site is beyond me.  There was an opportunity to take over the yellow pages and I believe there still is.  Newspapers will never out Fox, FOX News, however no-one should ever out- St. Louis the St. Louis Post for instance.
  • Location based services – that leads here.  If newspapers were cross matching their data, they would already know what business locations were closest to me and make offers accordingly.  At the same time with just a little effort, they could greatly enhance my profile by simply offering me a profile and providing me a compelling reason to say which types of food, activities and shopping that I enjoy.

 These are just a few ideas that I came up with and I know when enough is enough.  From here, we’ll let the expert take over.  Brian Dresher will be this week’s moderator for the HashtagSocialMedia event.  Brian brings years of managing content distribution and customer acquisition for a news brand and certainly understands necessity as the Manager of Social Media and Digital Partnerships for USAToday.  Brian will help us open up the possibilities of an industry under-siege so you can take these lessons and apply them to your own industry where digital is changing the landscape.  This week’s questions will be:

Topic: How news brands use social media and social gadgets to connect with audience

1.       What role should Twitter and Facebook play in journalists engaging with users?

2.       How do devices like iPad and iPhone influence news consumption?

3.       How will location-based services impact future of news gathering?

Join us for this event Tuesday June 29th at noon eastern.  Follow along using #sm66 from your favorite Twitter client or simply goto our LIVE page at

Updated post 7/2 to accurately reflect Brian’s role. Thanks again to Brian for leading a great discussion.

Destruction of the Media Industry: Will We Be Better Off In the Long Run?

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Laying out the fundamental issues and challenges in a post has become an integral part of the success of our weekly events.  Usually I produce the post and the moderator comes on Tuesdays and facilitates the discussion.  This week is an exception.  Our moderator, Paul Gillin, has delightfully taken the initiative to not only come up with his own topic, but to construct a post as well.  The following is the guest post by Paul Gillin:


tough-times-newspaperAs we head into the second decade of the new millennium, it’s amazing to think how much has changed in such a short time

January, 2000, few people had heard of Google.  Online advertising was banners and e-mails.  Big media brands dominated the Web. US newspaper ad revenue would hit record levels that year.  Newsroom employment would peak in 2001 as newsstand sales of the top 100 magazines approached 30 million.  No one had heard of blogs.  People used mobile phones to talk.

Fast forward to 2009.  Last year, people spent six billion minutes on Facebook, downloaded one billion YouTube videos and logged over 1.4 million blog entries every day.  The iPhone became the first mobile phone to be used more for data than for voice.  The Internet became the second most popular news medium behind television.  Wikipedia posted its three millionth article.

Meanwhile, US newsroom employment fell to a 25-year low and magazine newsstand sales dropped 63% from of their 2001 peaks.  Reader’s Digest declared bankruptcy.  Comcast said it would buy NBC.

The statistics go on and on. In just 10 years, our century-old mass-market media model has given way to a new structure dominated by the economics of one.  Customers now take their opinions directly to the market.  Woe to organizations that don’t listen.

The contraction of mass-market media has brought plenty of pain.  Tens of thousands of media professionals have lost their jobs in the past two years, crowdsourcing has sent some professional fees into a tailspin and veteran marketers are under threat if they don’t “get” social media.  But is this pain necessary, even beneficial in the long run?

Media has historically been one of the least efficient disciplines on the planet. It’s a profession that declares success if only 97% of its audience ignores an ad or tosses the mailer into the trash. It gains one customer at the expense of annoying 50 bystanders. When department store magnate John Wanamaker said half his ad dollars were wasted, but “I don’t know which half,” he was being generous.

The new Internet has flipped the economics. As media control has passed from institutions to individuals, waste has begun to be worked out of the system. The cost of reaching a targeted customer will only decline in the years to come.  Sadly, efficiency will also devastate those industries and professions that thrived on media’s historical inefficiency.

There’s no question we’re in a period of media destruction, but is this a necessary precursor to a better world?  Today, everyone can be the media.  That means we have unprecedented access to information from all points of view, but we’ve also lost our sense of whom to trust.  Is ubiquitous access to unlimited information a blessing or a curse?  What will we be saying about his period a decade from now?


That’s a great foundation for this week’s topic.  I’ll add a couple of thoughts directed squarely at the corporate side of this discussion that relate to content, trust and brands.

Today anyone can produce content and distribute to a potentially sizeable market.  The capabilities are ubiquitous and the cost is next to nothing.  With so much content now available, many forms of content quickly become commoditized and thereby become almost irrelevant.  With that, think about your company for a minute and the brand/s you represent.  These brands are usually strongest when consumers view them as a resource for their specified purpose whether it’s household cleaning, motor oil lubrication, exercise equipment or anything else. 

Since commoditized content is counter-intuitive to your brand strategies, aggregating stuff (content) just so you have more stuff does not fit with most corporate objectives.  Whether it’s for your customers, employees or partners, you want them to come to you as a resource for trusted content rather than as an aggregator of everything. 

Harnessing appropriate and relevant content as a resource for your customers / audience is becoming a significant differentiator in the market. 

Topic:  Destruction of the Media Industry: Will We Be Better Off In the Long Run?

Q1:  Does the proliferation of new media make us more informed or just more confused?

Q2:  Can businesses and institutions legitimately fill some of the trust gap that’s been created by the collapse of media institutions?

Q3:  Can armies of bloggers and citizen journalists fill the void left by the loss of media institutions?

So the chat will take place Tuesday 2/9/10 at noon EST.  Participate by following #sm46.