Remember the scene in Blazing Saddles once the sheriff installed a toll booth in the middle of the prairie, and most of the criminals lined through to horseback to pitch a cent in the turnstile rather than ride across the gate? Classic 1974 Mel Brooks; revisited with an angle of 2009 irony. After the U.C. Berkeley Media Technology Summit held at Google a week ago, it seems that some strong voices have moved discussions away from paid content. ‘Sell News Online’ will never pass the smell test for 95% of news sites because shhhh…. online news is free.
The turnstile gate is up: readers can proceed through it, around it, over it, and get their news however, whenever, wherever they desire. People are in control, advertisers have voted to spend their dollars elsewhere and media companies perhaps, might be starting to discuss opportunities that scale. However the question remains, will investigative journalism survive the slow, painful transition of the media industry?
Not-for-profit business models like ProPublica are cropping around support investigative journalism.
John Temple’s compelling presentation on lessons learned from the Rocky Mountain News included comments that online news needs “more ways for local businesses to reach prospects locally.
Advertisers weren’t represented. I did not see Associations from Restaurants, Car Companies, Auto Dealers, Convention Centers and certainly small businesses weren’t providing input.
It’s interesting that the bread and butter of the media industry, advertisers, continue to be not asked what they think and how online news may play a role in the advertisers’ future. Perhaps since paid content is on the rear burner, (I could make the broad assumption that advertisers naija news weren’t asked about paid content as a company model either), perhaps journalists can perform what journalists do: research, investigate and report. There are lots of niches, industries and geographies that could provide data and perspective, if analyzed. If media firms had reached out and called for feedback as early as 2006 when advertisers started to leave newspapers, they may be presenting an alternative history today.
Janet Smith is a Strategist, Marketer, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” kinda gal… (quote from Milton Berle) Marketing is about generating repeat business with advantageous partnerships and effective communications. With 20+ years experience writing business plans and marketing strategies, [http://www.janetsmith5d.com/], Janet seeks a Director of Marketing position with a firm that desires to break away from the pack. An inventor, Janet owns a patent-pending business method for the media industry.