Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Blogversation II: How is the Media Evolving?

Rottenchester has a good roundup of our blogversation here, along with his response to the latest question Evan has posed to us: "Where do you guys see the traditional media (and more specifically, the traditional local media) evolving? And perhaps more importantly, where is the traditional media currently failing in its coverage, style, or presentation?"

One does not need to perform an endless Google search on the subject to discover that national newspaper circulation and network evening news viewership are dwindling to the point that these news sources can be classified as endangered species, while nontraditional media, be it online, radio, or cable nets, are all on the rise. Here's a great article by George Will from 2005 on the subject, where he concludes:
The future of the big media that the young have abandoned is not certain. But do you remember when an automobile manufacturer, desperately seeking young customers, plaintively promised that its cars were "not your father's Oldsmobile"? Do you remember Oldsmobiles?
When it comes to the national MSM, there's no question that the drop in its consumers will continue at a fast pace. With internet users continually on the rise, why would people continue to pay for stale national/global news and a handful of opinion columns in the New York Times when they merely need to type in a few words on Google to find a plethora of news items and thousands of political commentators offering their unique insights on the day's events? Plus, if they still want to read the Times, they can merely visit its website and keep their hands ink-stained free. And why would people want to continue to wait for the NBC Nightly News just to see the same news reported throughout the day on the cable nets and online?

However, when it comes to local news, the situation is much different. Rottenchester is right that there is a rise in alternative media in the area (our blogs included), but certainly not at the level of national media sources. For example, throughout the day, I mostly follow national news online through nontraditional sources (e.g., Drudge Report, RealClearPolitics, various blogs, and then later in the day, Rush Limbaugh's website as I can't listen to his program at work usually), but for my local news, I'll go to the D&C's and Daily Messenger's websites (though I'm sure most people in the area get the paper edition) and watch the local news at night. I also read Fighting 29th and Rochesterturning daily, but more to see what they're saying about the local stories rather than as my source for local news.

So while I see national traditional media dying out, on the local level, Evan Dawson is safe with his day job for now.

As for ways in which the local media can improve, it's hard to say. Most of the major newspapers and networks have decent websites, and have been adding blogs to their online news coverage, WHAM especially. But some have committed a few unfortunate errors in their pursuits to move into the online community. The D&C's RocPets website comes to mind (I mean, really, did they have to create another forum for people to post mindless pictures of their pets?).

1 comment:

Rottenchester said...

But RocPets is the cornerstone of the Gannett media strategy! They are getting *tons* of hits on that site. It's just small-minded folks like you (and me) who don't get it -- it's all about eyeballs. That's why RocPorn will be coming soon (no pun intended).