The Media's Future

Two sites I read often are Chris Brogan's blog (surprise) and Neiman Journalism Lab over at Harvard Univeristy. The wikked smaht peeps at Neiman plugged a post by Brogan today that talks about the future of media entities. For the most part, I agree with Chris' vision for the future of media entities. On some points though, he's a tad off.

Agreed with:

  • Stories are points in time, but won’t end at publication. (Edits, updates, extensions are next.)
    • In today's media environment, a story never dies. There is always another angle to it and multiple ways to share/tell that story.
  • Media cannot stick to one form. Text, photos, video, music, audio, animation, etc are a flow.
    • No-brainer. Just like I said to the first bullet, there are many ways to tell a story. Today's technology allows us to truly cover news from a 360 perspective.
  • Everything must be portable and mobile-ready. (Mobile devices need to evolve here, too).
    • Also a no-brainer. At some point, mobile devices WILL be our primary sources of news and personal/work computing. Your desk will consist of a docking station with wireless access to your monitors (yes, multiple), mouse and keyboard.
  • Everything must have collaborative opportunities. If I write about a restaurant, you should have wikified access to add to the article directly.
    • This is the reason why media entities are hurting in the first place - because of social networking and media services. Such entites as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and even blogs are sources of news and allows for communities to build. That's what consumers want and have gravitated to - services that enable a single voice to become a part of a larger, stronger community.
  • Advertising cannot be the primary method of revenue.
    • Ah, no sh*t sherlock. This is how media entities screwed themselves in the first place. Zero vision.

Not agreeing with (actually pretty much agree with it all, but have a couple beefs:

  • Collaboration rules. Why should I pick the next cover? Why should my picture of the car crash be the best?
    • If you ever worked in a newsroom, collaboration happens in the reporting and writing phases. Ever deal with copy editors or a managing editor? They have final say. That's where the collaboration ends and will continue to end as old school minds run media entities.
  • Everything is modular and linkable. Everything is fluid. Meaning, if I want the publication to be a business periodical, then I don’t want to have to read a piece about sports.
    • I agree with this for the most part, but there's NO WAY media entities will take the extra step to segment out content just to make the reader feel all warm and fuzzy. The media has never taken into the consideration what the reader wants in terms of delivery. Maybe they have when it comes to content, but not in terms of delivery. Old online media strategies that still exist is an example of that.
  • Paper isn’t dead: it’s on demand.
    • Paper will never be on demand. Ever see the price of paper? Think media entities will stock pile paper "just in case" there is more of a demand of the print edition? Either there will be some sort of paper, or not.
  • Do-it-yourself publishing is next for us all. At first.
    • While there isn't wide spread adoption of DIY publishing, I think it'll take some time before we're ALL creating content. There will be people without access and without the skills to publish online no matter HOW easy it might become. Some people just want to be content consumers, not content creators.
  • We will all audition for mass physical distribution.
    • Anyone that publishes a blog, creates content on Twitter, Facebook, etc. are all looking for mass physical distribution. We're all looking to have our stuff read. Those folks that tell you otherwise are full of crap. Yea, you might write because it's an outlet for you, but everyone wants their stuff read. We all want a pat on the back. It's in our nature to want to get credit for the things we do. We all want to be famous to some certain extent.
  • It won’t matter (mass physical distribution) to us, lots of the time.
    • Again, not buying this. Mass distribution IS what the media (traditional, social, new, etc.) is all about. It does matter. If anything, I'd correct this to say mass physical distibution matters to most of us, most of the time.

 Overall, Chris is right on the money. I guess the items I picked out to argue against are small nuances, but it's just my opinion as a former reporter and someone who's dealt with the media my entire career. It does make you think what will media entities look like in near and distant future.