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Posts Tagged ‘new media’

newspapersLast night, I attended the Association of Women Journalists annual meeting. Initially, I was there to promote my NPO, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. 

In hindsight, it may have not been the best venue to pitch our organization, but I got some great information that I want to share with you.  

Jane Hirt, newly minted Managing Editor of the Chicago Tribune, served as the event’s guest speaker. As she centered on the crisis of newspapers and media, Ms. Hirt gave the expected “anti-hunker down” pep talk.

Essentially, journalism is changing. Get used to it.

Wanting information will never go away, but how that information is accessed will always evolve. If that includes moving from one platform to another, then I consider it a small (albeit, inconvenient) change. 

Nonetheless, her suck it up speech was palatable. Mostly, it was because she didn’t sound like a jerk. Nevertheless, how can you sound like a jerk when you have a smile like that?

If you dislike change, you’re going to like irrelevancy even less.

Maybe journalists take themselves too seriously. Perhaps, so seriously that change seems too ludicrous to even consider. Change, however, is about the ridiculous. There’s very little room (if any) for staid conformity and static values.

In a world where it’s possible to meet your lover or wife online, how can journalists not expect to have their own medium do the same?  Being productive involves remaining relevant. Remaining relevant has nothing to do with the phrase “staying the same” – no matter how much you convince yourself otherwise.

The world likes to fall into this trap of thinking when it comes to success, “Well, that was them and we’re not them.” But, you  know what? They were not always who they were. In other words, Oprah wasn’t always Oprah (as she is now) and online journalism wasn’t always online journalism (as it is now).

So, if you insist on believing that change involves some instantaneous and overnight boom of recognition, creativity and wonderfulness – then close your eyes and wait. While you’re at it – hold your breath.

Widen the scope of your competition.

Ms. Hirt mentioned that when she started RedEye, she wasn’t just competing with other newspapers. She was competing with how people chose to spend their time. Books, sleep, ipods and blackberrys were her competitors as well and factors to consider when launching a newspaper geared toward the 18 to 34 set. 

Consider that the “spirit” of competition is not just about becoming the next Google or Apple. You aren’t just competing with other bloggers or journalists. Remember what you are vying for: people’s time or money (or both) and how they choose to spend it.

Insist on riskiness if you insist on longevity. Manage reinvention…and stay on your toes.

People mistake that if you’ve been around for a long time, you probably don’t have to reinvent yourself. Or, shouldn’t need it. This reminds me of a podcast with Guy Kawasaki and Penelope Trunk mentioning the “democratization” one can enable.

In other words, what are you freeing up (or locking down)?  What ways are you creating access to your product or information? Are you (re)inventing opportunities for people to access it?

Simply, are you a connector or a disconnector?

Reinvention involves risk. But, everyone knows that. And, people like to take what they call “calculated risks.” But, those are iffy too, because the payoffs can be so variable. Even failure can be the better reward.

If you got everything right the first time, how do you know if you are doing anything truly meaningful?

Millennials and a woman’s style of management. Common sense meets youth?

As Millennials enter the workforce, baby boomer-esque management styles will inevitably need to transform. Gen Y’s are less tolerant of the once-a-year performance evaluation and the Big Boss you never see 25 floors up. 

We want collaboration, less hierarchy and to be treated as peers (not wage slave underlings). We take soul searching to the edge because we cultivate our own fulfillment to the maximum. We give ourselves space to grow and opportunities to grow it. That’s where our loyalties lie.

Ms. Hirt mentions that a woman’s style of management appeals more to the Gen Y job seeker. Yet, I like to think that a desiring collaboration has little to do with the womanly style of management (and more to do with common sense). 

It can mean all the difference between a dying industry and a dead one.

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swingJon Fine, author of Businessweek’s weekly column, “Media Centric” brought up the interesting topic of blogs/alternative journalism and their influcence on politics.

Essentially, Fine surmised that blogs and the new wave journalism won’t have much of an affect on voting trends and election campaigns.

Political bloggers and readers alike have already made up their mind early on (thus named “high information voters”) . The electoral campaign is currently focusing on the slow pokes just now catching up to the bubbly political brew that is McCain and Obama (this group is imaginitively dubbed “low information voters).

I believe Fine makes a valid (and obvious) point. With the information overload that plagues the radio, broadcast television and now, the internet – I can imagine there will be only so many people who can pretend they have enough time to read the endless maze of blogs available.

According to Fine,

“Congrats if you can spit out the results of the last three Ohio polls right down to the margin of error, but the campaigns care more about the harried parents of three kids in exurban Colorado who’ve only started to pay attention.

As always, those voters will be pounded with messages as simplistic as an old Miller Lite ad.”

Yikes.

Anyway, it’s obvious with every election year (and turbulent presidential incumbant years) people hungry for change are most likely to investigate their options early, hence, pegging themselves into the “high information” voter category. As Fine puts it, over extended parents in places like Colorado probably haven’t had the time or energy to pay attention to the campaign. 

Even with enough YouTube, political blogs, Democrat demonizing and Republican griping at their (internet) fingertips- swing voters want to be wooed the old-fashioned way.

They are most likely worried about crippling gas prices, dwindling 401(k) values resulting from the reeling of Wall Street and the uncertainty of their home’s equity (not to mention job security and healthcare costs).

This is not to imply that high information voters are not in the same boat as their Colorado-esque counterparts, I only want to suggest that the latter demographic presents – cha-ching- swing voters. 

Virtually, the voting equivalent of an NFL free agent – up for grabs from the highest (or, in this case, most politically beneficial) bidder.

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