It's the media Jim, but not as we know it?

Like many people. I am becoming increasingly bored with the concept of the ‘new new thing’ sweeping away all that went before.

I sometimes wonder if people were paying attention to the whole Internet bust episode.

Change is inevitable, but how change takes place and how it affects what’s gone before is never certain. As soon as I read anything along the lines of “blah is dead”, I switch off because my credibility sensor is ringing.

The future of the media has been the focus of much debate since the Internet moved mainstream (ten years ago).  This focus has been further honed with the advent of new tools such as blogging.

Don’t get me wrong, change is good and discussing and understanding how the media will change is essential for every single PR practitioner whether they’re involved in media relations or not.

However, the media shares a common trait with PR, resistance to change.  The publishers haven’t put a lot of thought into how their organizations will evolve to bring the best elements of their traditional business and merge those elements with new online techniques.  This reluctance is fast becoming irrelevant as they are being forced to make these changes in any case.

I don’t share the view that the media is “dead”.  That’s just unrealistic.  The media is an important part of society and will remain so.  But they are going to have to examine their business and start to think about how they can take advantage of the potential of the Internet – not the threats. They have a fantasic opportunity to merge the online and offline worlds.

Editor and Publisher has a very interesting report on a talk given by media mogul Rupert Murdoch at the American Society of Newspaper Editors conference earlier this week.  In the speech Murdoch calls on newspapers to embrace not fear the Internet.

“Unless we awaken to these changes, we will as an industry be relegated to the status of also-rans,” Murdoch said. “There is an opportunity to improve our journalism and expand our reach. Not one newspaper in this room lacks a Web site, but how many of us can say we are taking maximum advantage of our Web sites?”

There is no doubt they are going to have to change, but disapear?  Do people really think that the only place we’ll find news and opinions is Google News’ archive of press releases and blogs? C’mon everybody, get a grip.

Instead of the usual Internet doomsday scenarios let’s bring some realism to the debate.  It’s an interesting debate on its own without any of the hyperbole.


  • CNET‘s Molly Wood gives her views on “Big Media”
  • Thanks to Trevor Jonas over at Bite PR‘s blog for the Murdoch link.