Media140: I am the bastard child of old & new media…
This was my presentations for the ‘Do journos do it better’ session at the Media140 conference in Sydney. It was a fascinating day. Next time around I’d love to see a few of the ‘new media’ evangelists mixed into the same panels as the ‘old media’ protectionists.
EDIT: Just added the video – sorry it’s ropey as a workmate screen-captured it direct from the live stream:
Talking to many of the attendees last night it was obvious there are SO many other issues people want to discuss – the paid content debate, the internet filter, the future of mainstream media in a rapidly changing media environment. I hope we can do it again and really set the cat amongst the pigeons! Anyways… my blurb below:
Do journos do it better? “Of course they do – as long as they know the rules before breaking them”
I am the bastard child of Old and New media.
As such I hope to provide some unique insight into this debate as I – like a child of a broken home – care deeply for both my divorced parents, despite their temporary differences.
I’m a child of the 80s who grew up with the daily newspaper, the six o’clock news over tea, The Goodies on the ABC, A Current Affair with Mike Willesee (when it was actually current affairs), movies on VHS and a love of the mixtape.
But ever since my Dad borrowed an early Macintosh for a week in about 1985 and spent the whole time playing Moon Lander – something always fascinated me about technology.
So for those who know me – it’s no surprise that after 5 years in radio and TV news at the ABC & SBS – I launched into new media the first chance I had.
I’m deeply passionate about the opportunities provided by the real time web and the instant impact it’s had on journalism – especially after witnessing so many historic moments this year. (Plane in the Hudson, Iranian uprising, Michael Jackson’s death etc etc).
But after being beaten into shape by so many sub-editors over the years I’m glad my fan-boy tendencies are tempered by a healthy dose of cynicism and just a touch of distrust.
So yes – I reckon journos do it better – but only if they respect the rules of Old Media, before breaking them in an increasingly New Media world – because the role of the journalist is changing … fast.
The new role of the journalist
I’m still surprised me that so many “mainstream media” types scoff at Twitter, dismiss the blogosphere and ridicule Facebook – when in reality, being a one-platform pony is an express ride to oblivion.
Look I know the language sounds ridiculous… Tweeting? The Twitterati? Tweet & Meets? Followers? It sounds like a religious cult.
BUT – it’s no longer enough to present a weekly radio show, write a newspaper column or bash out a single TV news package a day.
You must self-publish. You must go to your audiences instead of expecting them to keep coming to you. Because the media game has changed… permanently.
However – there is a massive upside to this new responsibility – by taking control of your destiny, you can find yourself suddenly at the centre of your own media network.
Take Leo Laporte – a radio jock and TV presenter who freely admits he’s had more programs cancelled on him that hot dinners…
“Leo the tech guy” eventually went out on his own – starting a This Week in Tech podcast – or Twit – which has grown into a network of 16 tech-related podcasts. Last month Leo told the Online News Association conference in San Francisco that Twit is pulling in annual revenue $1.5 million – a number that’s doubling every year.
Old Media – meet your new competitors.
As the audience fragments into a thousand niches – mainstream media will need to fight hard to maintain its place as the dominant voice of credibility. Savvy journalists who are on top of this trend can leapfrog many budding bloggers and establish instant credibility by association – depending on the association…
But the line between old media cred and the new breed of publishers is blurring. The passionate blogger does as much verifying and fact-checking as a good journalist – and is more transparent in the way they go about it. The audience is often the toughest sub-editor out there.
With blogs increasingly curating the best content across the web media organisations need to embrace the real time web.
So forget embargoed content– if you don’t meet the demand for instant gratification – your audience will find someone who does. Your audiences – young and old – expect more from a classy old dame such as yourself.
Follow these new media rules and apply your old media nouse… and you can’t go wrong.
In the meantime this kid from a broken home will continue to split his weekends between his Old Media and New Media parents… until they can get their acts together…