Apologies if we go back to the same ‘source’ material again. And this time, I’ll give the author his due – Mr Anthony Lilley, take a bow.
But the more I read it, the more gems you find. With the same on-going proviso – that you read it through the eyes of a wood-stainer. For whether by accident or design, it bangs nail after nail on the head.
Or at least gives some great starting points for a discussion.
This baby, for example.
“Our use of media is shifting to find a new balance between the creation and distribution of content as we have known it in the age of mass media and the active participation of citizens.
“We are entering the age of “our media” – where the communication of ideas amongst groups and the sharing of content are at the heart of what’s going on…”
Spot on. The new balance between the distribution of content as we have known it and the active participation of citizens… Very good. Cos that’s new media gold – how to crack that interaction without moderation nut. As it stands, most of us have discovered only new media green on that score.
Am I going to run a messageboard community off www.myfootballwriter.com and spend my life enslaved to a moderating screen as anonymous 14-year-olds from their bedrooms Ipswich have a pop at Norwich…? Er, no.
Not as a responsible publisher with a family-friendly brand to protect. A post for another time, but that tide is on the turn was the feeling from both the floor and the platform of Paul’s JEECamp the other day.
I’d also take a different view in terms of the age of “our media”. No surprise given the fact we’re running www.myfootballwriter.com and www.mylocalwriter.com, but I’d say it was more the age of “my media” – something, you presume, Shane and his myTelegraph set-up would concur with.
This bit is good. Particularly if you insert the word ‘newspaper’ into the mix.
“We already have a splendid system of media distribution using the mass media technologies of television, film, radio and, to some extent, the first generation of the web.
“Indeed, broadband networks have the added effect of improving this environment still further by facilitating access to media on-demand.
“But even this change from a scheduled world of media scarcity to a plentiful world of traditional media available on-demand represents a significant challenge to the assumptions and models of mass media players…
Newspaper hats on and two phrases leap out – “media on-demand” and “a scheduled world of media scarcity“, ie I want my news now and not when the paper-boy deigns to finally show and that “scheduled world”, one that for 400-odd years has been enslaved to the deadlines of a print press. And as such was able to keep media scarce.
And that’s a big, big word in this digital age of ours. Cos if media is scarce then it has a value. Simple supply and demand; keep supply scarce and the demand will push the price up.
To my mind – and that of Clay Shirky – the demand for media is not the problem. Everyone still wants a good read, just as they still want to listen to good music, etc, etc…
It’s the supply side that’s the problem. Media is everywhere. News is instant and universal. And free.
“Traditional media are at the zenith of their powers when they are distributing information and providing entertainment.
“These are powerful human needs; but they are not sufficient for life in the 21st century as the force of globalisation flatten our world. We are not in the information age; that has passed. We’re entering the networked, learning age…”
Sit down with a bank in these current, credit-crunched climate – and I suspect this will apply just as much to TrinityMirror, Archant, the LA Times, etc, etc, as much as it will to me and www.mylocalwriter.com – and that’s our biggest, biggest problem. Proving value.
If I can get this for free, on the web, what’s the value in your newspaper? Or, indeed, your website? Somewhere in all the recent talk of share prices halving, that fundamental thought is going through the minds of the markets. Where’s the value? When media was scarce, yeh, sure I get it… Now it’s everywhere. And costs me nothing. Where’s the value?
Because the ‘scarcity of media’ applies just as equally to the distribution of advertising as it does to the distribution of editorial content. For 400-odd years, there was only one local advertising platform in town – and that ad only ever got as far as the furthest paper-boy.
Now we’re in this ‘networked’ age and that ad doesn’t need a paper boy to carry it; advertising ain’t scarce anymore, that’s everywhere too. Where’s the value in that quarter page ad? Heh, and I’ll keep myself in the newspaper boat – where’s the value in that banner ad? What’s so special about you? Where’s your added value?
And for all of us the answer we have to urgently hope lies in that one word – that not only are we in this networked age, but we’re in this “learning” age…
Because if information is everywhere, what it actually means is still – thankfully – quite scarce. Or rather those that actually know what that information means are still quite scarce; those that can add the ‘learning’ to a football score, an on-line police rap sheet, a roadside death in Iraq, and all those other bland, bald pieces of information that don’t come with education attached.
That’s why I look at www.everyblock.com with huge admiration – in all but one, key regard. I want to learn from it, not be informed by it. Information is everywhere; learning isn’t… what do I learn from a hygiene report? A police crime stat? I want the analysis, the colour, the background – and I want it from a source that I respect and trust.
That’s the value.
One night last autumn I discovered I had 24-hours in which to submit my final proposal for this year’s Knight News Challenge; boy was the midnight oil burned.
But in my hour of desperate need, I found a quote from Bill Keller as he warned that for all this explosion of information on the Internet, the supply of reliable news reporting was dwindling.
“What is absent from the vast array of new media outlets is, first and foremost, the great engine of news-gathering – the people who witness events, ferret out information, supply context and explanation.”
There’s your scarcity; there’s your value; there’s our future.
Now explain it to a bank.