Monday, May 27, 2013

Shifting Sands? Yes and No.

They weren't kidding, those folks who told us the world would change in ways we couldn't even imagine with the advent of the Internet.

Certainly no one could have predicted how the media could change in 20 years. I'm not just talking about how the news is gathered and presented, I'm talking about who gets paid and how media companies fund their work, not to mention the world of online citizen journalism.

An example: at my first 'real' job, in the radio newsroom in Orangeville in 1994, we didn't have the 'net. Our word processor was an electric typewriter. Installing a dowel so we could use a roll of paper effectively was an innovation I came up with.

Today, in our area, there are still two newspapers and a TV station, but we have a second radio station, several websites promoting local businesses and in Collingwood, at least four blogs written by people following and digging away at stories in local politics.

A lot of us still get our information from newspapers, but very few of us are paying for it. Since radio has always been a medium provided to its consumers for free, it's been interesting to watch newspapers struggle to adapt to the funding model our sales force has been using forever.

Worldwide, spending on advertising is up. But with so many media platforms, the market is fragmented and the budgets of newsrooms in radio, TV and elsewhere continue to shrink. It's ironic that Google is making a killing, since the ads it sells go right next to the content provided by newspapers, even while those very papers have trouble getting advertisers to buy space.

Add to shrinking revenue, the traditional media's need to be part of new media, and you've got a recipe for big changes as reporters scramble to find ways of getting the job done.

'There used to be standards!' cry some, 'There used to be credibility!' say others.

Well, it seems to me, the 'doing more with less' thing applies to traditional media more than to any other group.

As for those long-lost standards, do you remember the name of the guy with the information about Watergate? Me, neither. He was anonymous for about 30 years after the scandal broke. Just one guy, unnamed, and the information he had, ended a presidency. The Globe and Mail says it has ten sources for the shocking story it published in Saturday's edition. Ten.

1 comment:

  1. 10 sources all of them bullshit. Them and the Star should be ashamed.


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