Saturday, January 31, 2009

The media is thriving

There's a new Twitter feed in town you might want to check out: The Media is Thriving.

It's a riff, of course, on The Media is Dying, the dismal feed that chronicles the daily demise of newspapers and the like.

The Media is Thriving is the brainchild of Rick Bass, co-founder of The Barbarian Group, a digital services company headquartered in Boston. Bass found The Media is Dying terribly depressing. Not to mention, horribly misguided.

The media isn't dying, he says. It's thriving. And his feed seeks to prove it, with observations like:

  • The fact that online newspaper uniques are going up.

  • A quote from Reuters' CEO: "I have no idea what journalism will look like in five years except that it will be different than now. That's a great thing." (emphasis mine)

  • Rosy reports from various media companies showing revenue going up.
It's worth noting that when Bass says "media", he means all media, not just journalism. But this should be no less encouraging for those in the news biz. The data demonstrates that people will consume media, when it's presented in a compelling form. This doesn't mean all Britney all the time. Or that it has to be dumbed down. Or presented by anime characters (not that that would be a bad thing, necessarily.)

It just means that those in the news business would do well to study and learn what forms of media are soaring, and how the news biz might adapt lessons from those fields into their own biz, to make their product (the news) more compelling.

For example: What can you learn from how YouTube manages to suck you in to figure out how to serve up content on a news site? Who hasn't, after all, gone to YouTube to check out a single video forwarded to them by a friend, only to be sitting in front of a screen an hour later, checking out the 15th video they had never intended to watch? How awesome would it be to suck readers into your news site the same way?

Newspapers are dying. Their presentation format no longer works for most people. But media is not dying. It's thriving. Journos who seek to learn from media in general will figure out how to create a product that will carry journalism into the future.

Image courtesy of FreeRangeLife. Creative Commons license.

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