The Federal Trade Commission held two days of workshops on this very subject matter this past week on December 1 to explore how the Internet has affected journalism. The event was free and open to the public. The workshop assembled representatives from print, online, broadcast and cable news organizations, academics, consumer advocates, bloggers, and other new media representatives.
We all know the industry is scrambling. Not a week goes by whereby a new publisher consolidates or closes its doors. Survival clearly will depend on evolving….and fast!
But in what directions? I’ll offer a few thoughts here.
Curate content. Don’t just rely on your own. The consumer knows that marquee content gets floated to many news organizations for repurposing. Be seen as the leading curator for your vertical in addition to providing insights within your own original content.
Conversations surrounding your content often outlive the content itself and the reason we consume media in the first place. Be a safe harbor for the conversations and participate in them. Play nice with others such as Twitter, Netvibes, Bloggers, Facebook and yes, even Google.
Netvibes, a startup based Paris, France, that lets users build custom home pages, is testing a service that pulls together real-time data from Twitter and Facebook, as well as frequently updated blogs and news sites, on personalized home pages. Called Wasabi, the new service is built on technology that helps keep up with an avalanche of real-time information from across the Web.
Once you activate Wasabi, you can choose a “smart reader” view in the upper-right corner of the screen. This view consolidates previously separate RSS boxes into a stream of intermingled headlines. Twitter and Facebook updates and other information, such as the current weather and e-mails, are shown in the same feed.
Distribute your content. Organizations should not care where the consumer interacts with the content, only that they do. Monetization is a key factor in this and the industry needs to coordinate revenue sharing models amongst it’s own. Don’t give it away and share in the wealth.
The Tablets are coming…and lots of them but don’t be something that you are not. I was horrified to read that Sports Illustrated was considering releasing it’s own tablet. Anyone remember the ESPN mobile phone fiasco? Time Warner is a content company, not a hardware manufacturing company.
The problem with this is that consumers will need a device that can read ALL magazines. They do not want devices specific to magazines or to publishing houses. Amazon doing this makes sense as it is a technology company and has no interest in producing the content. Time Inc doing this does not – it should be a technology agnostic content company. Get it?
And then there is AOL’s seed.com. An exciting and innovative new platform that will allow writers, photographers and videographers to participate in creating great content across AOL’s network of industry leading websites. This is a great example of the very way that content creation is evolving.
As I settle into my Sunday read of traditional publications via my Kindle subscriptions and content via my Mac, I am swayed heavily by what I am subscribed to within Alltop, Twitter follow recommends, Delicious, Stumblepon, Tumblr, Posterous subscriptions and the like…
My only regret is no longer having leftover newspaper for my fireplace on a cold winter’s night.
More fun and games from some recent headlines on this subject from the last week are below. I especially recommend reading Eric Schmidt’s response to Rupert Murdoch in his own newspaper – WSJ. How Google Can Help Newspapers.