“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.” ~ Voltaire, as quoted in “The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis
Some observers believe the media is on its heels, but it’s really an increase in platform diversity. True, there have been job cuts at newspapers, but the scope of digital publishing has doubled and traditional news outlets that embrace the changes are coming along for the ride. There are even green shoots. The publisher of The Washington Post, Jeff Bezos, announced in a memo this week that not only is the paper surviving, it’s profitable!
Download PDF of this issue: The State of the Media in 2017
The Need for Reporters
Don’t we enjoy our Twitter newsfeeds? If you’re smart, the platform gives you your favorite articles and all the third-party credibility they bring with them. Don’t take away my print subscriptions to the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. I still pay thousands of dollars a year for those and dozens of other magazines and business journals, but several newspapers previously available nationally can now only be read online. If you don’t live in Washington, D.C., you need an online subscription to read The Washington Post. Still, I dream of a super-slim, newspaper-sized device, one for me and one for my husband. I don’t mean a tablet. Maybe something you could roll out to be your placemat at the breakfast table. I’m not sure when that’s coming, or when paper news is going away. What I am sure of is that there will always be a need for reporters digging for stories and the truth.
Google’s Media Power
Sixty percent of Americans trust articles indexed by Google News more than news delivered directly from the same sources. Fortunately, 98 percent of broadcast, radio and print news stories are available through the search engine. As an agency, we love the power of Google. It helps establish the credibility of our clients with real news written by reporters employed by legitimate news organizations. News clearly remains a priority for the overwhelming majority of Americans regardless of how we consume it. More than 70 percent of adults follow national and local news, and 65 percent follow international news. We just do it from our cell phones and other mobile devices.
The War on Fake News
Fake news is indeed a problem and we need to go to war against it. But I take heart that the millennial generation is apparently wise to fake news and can ferret it out faster than any bot. Media giants see the danger to their reputation and are beginning to take measures to block journalistic fraud. Already Google and Facebook have banned websites that promote fake news from using their online advertising services. Read the latest on fake news from the LA Times: “Without these ads, there wouldn’t be money in fake news“.
Join the Media Conversation
As we look to 2017, reporters have a big job. We all should support and applaud their efforts as they will have to work even harder in the new climate. We can help by offering facts and expertise that further inform reporting. This is not the time to cower – not for the American people and not for businesses. Don’t be afraid to join the media conversation. Get aggressive and talk about your differentiation. You can come from behind and be No. 1 in this climate as well as any other. More outlets mean more opportunities – for those who use them. So, share your company news and industry expertise, write that guest article, speak at that conference, and your customers and prospects will notice.
We’re here to help.