As technology changes so to does the way we communicate with each other. Walking on the street or idling at a stop light we are checking email and Facebook, updating Twitter or checking our messages in one form or another. While traditional media is not yet a thing of the past, there are multiple ways for a company to target their message and their brand to their key audience or otherwise share their story, engage their customers and expand their brand directly into the hands of their target market. So how is the media changing?
Newspapers In 2011 not a single newspaper closed, although twenty newspapers did shutter their local bureau and laid off employees, according to a recent report on the “State of the Media” by Vocus. In fact, in 2011, Gannet which publishes USA Today, the Detroit Free Press and Lansing State Journal, among others, cut 700 jobs and other newspapers followed.
While newspaper bureaus shut down and newspaper staff are getting leaner and younger, hyper-local news sites expanded, such as Patch.com and Mainstreet.com. However, because sites like the Patch are hyper-local, the stories are isolated to what is going on in that specific community. They are also websites and not publications, they also are not traditional media. In fact, I attended a city council meeting on behalf of a client a few weeks ago and the person writing for Patch did not even attend the meeting in person. She reported on it by watching it on Public Access and never called my client for their side of the story. While newspapers are doing more online and limiting their on line access, regional news sites, such as MLive or Crain’s Michigan Business are popping up.
Traditional newspapers also are expanding into interactive media, but creating news casts or partnerships to broadcast the news, such as the Detroit Free Press and WWJ-TV, Crain's Detroit Business and their new weekly broadcast and the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News web programs, similar to the interviews broadcasted by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.
Other ways as well as coupon sites such as Groupon, Hip City and Living Social.
Social Media also is becoming more mainstream. In fact, in the past, the newspapers controlled the news cycle. News directors at the networks used to assign reporters based on the stories they read in the paper that morning. Even on The Morning Joe or on C-SPAN we see the headlines circled and briefly talked about. However, social media today drives the news cycle. We are learning through Twitter about the protests in the Middle East, updates on disasters and other news.
In terms of magazines, while publishers such as Conde Nast shuffled their staff, Hearst actually grew by acquiring Hachette Fillpacchi Magazines, publishers of Elle, Woman’s Day, Metropolitan Home and Road & Track among others. Magazines are also starting to become more specialized and optimized. We also are seeing more hyper-niche magazines. We are even seeing new media turn to traditional media, such as Social Media Monthly.
We are also beginning to see more magazines appear on line and available through mobile apps such as Currents, Flipboard, Zinio or Zite. There are even magazines made specifically for the iPad and other tablets, such as those published by Nomad Editions, such as Real Eats, BodySmart and UnCorked. Corporations are also turning their quarterly magazines into on-line editions.
Television While local television news also is becoming leaner and younger with their reporters churning out 3 or more stories a day, some even carrying their own cameras and editing their own stories, while requiring them to tweet in between and develop strong sources. National media is focusing more on cultural-niche markets, with CNN, FOX and NBC all starting Hispanic news channels. Television networks are also starting to look more like newspapers by carrying the rest of the story on line, complete with more detailed interviews and other updates.
Investigative journalism also has increased. With a difficult economy, large unemployment and many people looking to save money or make extra money, investigate journalists have their fill of news stories to go after.
Television however, is being challenged by YouTube, Vimeo and VMS (a client).
NewsTalk radio continues to dominate what people are listening to, followed by country, hip hop and classic rock. But more people are listening to to the radio through satellite or on-line, such as iHeart Radio. Websites such as Pandora or Storify are not considered radio. Nonetheless, with such sites it is a more competitive market to compete in and to get your voice heard.
Blogs While blogs are not considered traditional media, they are now part of the media landscape and a chance to take ones message directly to those that want to hear it.
Patchwork of Available Media
The fragmented patchwork of available media and accessible journalists makes available opportunities to tell your story through traditional media channels, challenging. However, with the continued evolution of technology and technological devices such as smart phones and tablets, the growing number of media channels gives rise to greater opportunities to take your story directly to the people you want to read it, listen to it, see it, experience it, pretty soon to reach out and touch it and on the horizon, to smell it or even taste it.