In a recent post on The Huffington Post, blogger Kety Esquivel discusses what she describes as the converging worlds of new media/social media/journalism/communications/marketing. As I read her post I was reminded how in the past week on every check-out line I was on I saw the covers of two high-profile magazines which epitomized convergence. The Atlantic Monthly’s cover had the word “Google” in a large font while Time magazine was sporting the word, “FaceBook”.
The Atlantic Monthly’s story “How to Save the News” by James Fallows, describes the ways in which Google is trying to “bring the news business back to life.” Fallows writes that Google now considers journalism’s survival crucial to its own prospects. Two important developments for Google were Google News, “a kind of air-traffic-control center for the movement of stories across the world’s media, in real time and Google Alerts, a way to stay on top of the topics important to you.
Fallows says, “But all of their [Google’s] plans for reinventing a business model for journalism involve attracting money to the Web-based news sites now available on computers, and to the portable information streams that will flow to whatever devices evolve from today’s smart phones, iPods and iPads, Nooks and Kindles, and mobile devices of any other sort.”
The three pillars of the new online business model are described by Fallows as “distribution, engagement, and monetization… getting news to more people, and more people to news-oriented sites; making the presentation of news more interesting, varied, and involving; and converting these larger and more strongly committed audiences into revenue, through both subscription fees and ads.”
Of course, the critical ingredient for news whether it’s online or in print is well-written and compelling content. Readers will engage with a story when the story draws them in and keeps them there to the end. It’s no longer a given that we will read a newspaper from front to back. Readers will pick and choose. A good website and a good print publication will keep tabs on what their readers want to read.
Fallows says, “Spending time with an article, whether in print or online, is of course the definition of ‘engagement’.” If you’re interested in the converging worlds of new media and journalism, I think you’ll find the article “How to Save the News” well worth your time.
Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend and let us know where you’ve been reading the news (e.g. online, print, desktop, smartphone, iPad, etc,) and what stories kept you engaged.