Thursday, October 26, 2006

Defending old media?

With the current, and understandable, desire to integrate User Generated Content into sites, whether it's via citizen journalism, blogging, or old-fashioned forums, it's always a nice surprise to see someone actively defending the role of the old media in a brave, new, integrated world...

So step forward Guy Kewney of, as published on theregister in response to an attack on leading articles in print.

"A final point: the BuzzMachine is being perhaps a touch naive in saying: "Most [research] confirmed Sweeney's theories that Millennial students are not reading books for fun, watching television news or reading newspapers. Nearly all said they get their news from Yahoo!, Google, or other sites."
Yes, of course. We all do, for goodness sake. I do get a paper edition of a news journal, most days, but only because I can't get Google on the London Underground!
But when you go to Google, looking for (say) iPod virus news, what are you searching? "The internet" sure! - but not Technorati, not Digg, not the blogosphere; you're searching the Old Meeja - newspapers, mostly. Look down that list, and see whether it includes newspapers or not!
People who say "I don't read newspapers, I read Google" are deceiving themselves. It's like saying "I don't go near any cows, I get my milk from the dairy!"
As to how long the bulk of Google's news will be derived from the big news agencies and newspapers, before "great newspapers" all become online institutions, is quite another question. But whether printed on paper - like the Guardian - or published online - like the Guardian - they'll still need blogs and leaders to share important information that underlies the raw data.
If there is a "Kewney's Law of Media", then it's very simple. "A new medium may displace old media from top rank - but the old media will always live on."
We have blogs, and we have leaders, and they aren't the same thing. They overlap. The arrival of the blog, however, does not signal the end of the leading article or anonymous comment any more than the arrival of television marked the end of radio, or YouTube marks the end of TV."

I think one of the important points to take is that yes, kids today will look to mobiles, the net and TV for news and information, but if you have a valid and respected source, your work will be the thing they are looking for. You just need to make sure it's available in each format they require, whether it's print, net, mobile, or beamed directly into their tiny little minds.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?