I’m in the media business, so I think about it often. Actually, I had been an editor for a few months when it suddenly dawned on me that I had become something I didn’t like–a journalist. When I was a sales engineer, it took me years to actually say the word “sales,” although professional sales people make it a delight to buy something. My journalism training came from reading everything I could get my hands on, reading the Columbia Journalism Review while I was in college (must have had a premonition) and not much else. There are people I now like to read in order to further my education. One is NYU professor Jay Rosen. His blog, Press Think, has been an excellent resource. It went dormant for a while, but he has started it up again–and this post is a coherent description about why I don’t care for journalists–at least political ones.
I used to read newspapers cover to cover. Did it for many years. Now I spend about 30 minutes a day max with a newspaper. John C. Dvorak, in this PC Mag column, points out much of what happened to the newpaper business–they shot themselves. Craigs List, of course, took away a lot of income from the classified sections, but as local papers began to lay off staff and just use AP and The New York Times for content, they lost their way. Heck, just get the NYT, in fact, be like me and get it on the Web. By the time I get a daily newspaper I already know all the news except for some local stuff. No wonder news weeklies struggle–news dailies aren’t real time enough anymore.
TV news is geared directly at ratings, so it has become mostly hype. I watch no TV news. I’ve even tuned out the Weather Channel.
Journalists love to ponder the demise of media. The iPad is going to kill all of us off–so they say. Content is still necessary. People still come to good content. I get exasperated by all the search engine optimization wannabes who try all manner of gimmicks, hype, over the top hitting you and so on. Print–magazines and books–are still around. Sometimes technology has a negative impact–e.g. the news weeklies–but most often the cause of problems is the demise of the niche the magazine is serving. But other niches spring up that need the services of a magazine. Don’t do linear extrapolations of limited data sets. And don’t get caught up in artificial SEO. (the web guys will hate me, but so be it) Put out good content and make friends.
I’d love to see Automation World on the iPad–but that would be too expensive for a small magazine like us. And then Steve Jobs controls the distribution. Print still works.