RIP For Newspapers

By Jeff Ryan

The shock felt round the world of journalism arrived in an announcement September10 by New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr:

“We will stop printing the New York Times sometime in the future, date TBD.”

According to a report published on October 31 by futurist Ross Dawson, we now have a clearer picture of when that day will come:  The USA will see the end of the daily newspaper in 2017.

This is not the first time Dawson has predicted end times for paper-and-ink news.  In August, Dawson reported Australia would see its last print paper in 2022.
Dawson is globally recognized as a futurist, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, strategy advisor, and author. His Newspaper Extinction Time Line of global decline for print newspapers puts the USA at the head of the pack, followed by UK and Canada, with some newspapers lasting until 2040.

It’s not a big stretch to imagine Dawson is wrong on his time line, at least concerning The USA.  I, for one, will be surprised if it takes until 2017, especially if the New York Times decides to stop printing within the next couple of years,  also not a big stretch.

Dawson cites a number of key factors, which could speed things up –  most prominently, advances in technology,  which tend to happen faster than anyone predicts. (Think e-readers and tablets, but also digital paper.)

The end of great investigative journalism died some time ago. When was the last time we picked up a  newspaper to read great reporting the likes of Woodward and Bernstein?  But that is another subject for another post.

The end of the print newspaper is coming, and the question is still when.  One thing for sure: The glory days of the newspaper died in 2008, if not before.


Blog World New Media Expo Was AWESOME!

BY Jeff Ryan

Blog World Started with Keynote speaker Scott Stratten, author of UNmarketing with his message of be AWESOME… because people don’t buy mediocre…they buy AWESOME. Stratten’s message set the tone through the entire conference. Stratten was one of many rock stars of new media I had the pleasure to engage at Blog World.

The event confirmed my belief that the future of journalism is indeed the blogosphere and active engagement in social networks is the future of successful marketing or should I say UNmarketing stategies.

The three day conference in Las Vegas was full of informative new media panel presentations covering Real estate, health care, SEO/ SEM, blogging, crisis communication, social media & ROI and much more.

My favorite panel discussions were “Digital Crisis Communication” that included Scott Monty who heads up the social media function for Ford and has been called “the best corporate social media lead on the planet” and “How to hire a social media agency” which featured David Armano, SVP for Edelman, C.C. Chapman founder of The Advance Guard and Jim Tobin, President of Ignite social media, one of the nation’s first social media agencies. I was impressed with the openness the panelists shared their secrets of success for a host of national brands.

Of course there were lots of parties to attend of which I managed to make it to only a couple. One highlight for me was seeing my first Cirque du Soleil performance, Viva Elvis. I have been to many Broadway shows and Viva Elvis was very reminiscent of the classic Broadway show of song and dance with the addition of gravity defying acrobatics. If you loved Elvis you will love Viva Elvis and if you aren’t an Elvis fan you will love Viva Elvis!

Blog World was an awesome learning experience and I look forward to Blog world 2011!


New Media Has Become The New Mainstream

By Jeff Ryan

The Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan’s blog, turned 10 years old this week.

Sullivan, editor of “The New Republic 1990-1996, weekly contributor to New York Times Sunday Magazine, Sunday London Times and Atlantic Monthly has a million unique visits to his blog every month. The Daily Dish is among the top 15 blogs on the web.

During the Green revolution in Iran his blog was the #1 visited site in Iran. Why, because he saw “something is going on in Iran” before others saw the train roaring down the tracks. Iranian bloggers reached out to Sullivan sending emails, phone videos and pictures of events as they unfolded.

The Iran Islamic Revolution government was busy trying to shut down the blogs in Iran so Sullivan’s Daily Dish quickly became mission control for news in Iran.

Howard Kurtz, arguably one of the most influential journalists today left The Washington post to become Editor of The Daily Beast. Howard Fineman of Newsweek and Peter Goodman of the New York Times left their posts to join The Huffington Post.

The exodus of mainstream journalists from paper and ink to the web and blogeshere…. is very telling…

The immediacy of the web and the ability for the audience to interact in real time is changing the very nature of what journalists can contribute as pointed out by Sullivan and his Green revolution reporting. Sullivan not only reported the story but facilitated a political movement by the presence of his blog. The Daily Dish became a community, something paper and ink could never accomplish.

The bar is being raised for the blogosphere and it’s about time.

Yes there is a place for serious journalism in America to survive and thrive. The new mainstream is online and no longer one way reporting. It is a conversation.


Is It Time To Panic For Newspapers? Hell Yes!

That’s my take after hearing a lecture by Professor Michael Schudson of Columbia University, recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “genius” award, a Guggenheim Fellow and known as one of the brightest bulbs in the journalism research and education.
It may not be what Schudson intended me to take away from his lecture at Indiana University the other night, though.
“If you think I have a crystal ball as to where newspapers are going, I don’t have an answer,” Schudson said at the start of his talk.
To Schudson, there are three major scenarios for the future of the newspaper industry.
restoration of the advertising model,
online with pay walls, and
newspapers on a diet with supplements.
Restoration, Schudson said, isn’t going to happen with the downturn of the economy and Craig’s list monopolizing the classified ad market. Online pay walls won’t survive because who’s going to keep people from forwarding stories they like to others? Which leaves what he calls “newspapers on a diet with supplements.”
So what does this mean? Newspapers on a diet means just like it sounds: Newspaper are going to continue to limp by on less — cutting staff, reducing print production to one or two days a week, eliminating home delivery. And until they can come up with a viable business model, they will supplement with whatever online features they can come up with. The bottom line is that newspapers as we have known them prior to 2008 are a thing of the past.

The encouragement this towering figure in journalism education offered the journalism students in the audience — the future of journalism — was especially telling. Mom and Dad may prefer you look at computers, accounting, premed or law, Schudson told them. But newspaper journalism isn’t the only profession that doesn’t have a business model. Modern dance doesn’t have one. And neither does acting. And yet people do these things. They just have to have the passion.
I spoke with Professor Schudson briefly after his lecture and asked what he thought of the blogosphere as a place for journalists to ply their trade. He sees professional blogging as one of the supplements in his “newspapers on a diet” model. I asked him about Patch.com, the micro local news website recently purchased by AOL. He knew they pay their journalists, but beyond that, he knew little about it. I asked what he thought of social media. To my shock — he said his son suggested he should go online and look at it.
My take on his lecture? It may not be what this MacArthur Fellow wanted me to take away, but as I see it, print newspapers should panic: The future– at least for any business, government agency, or non-profit seeking to convey news of its activities to a target audience – is not in newspapers. It’s online in many different shapes and forms. And that is the bottom line.

Jeff Ryan
President
Media Gofer, Inc.


Why Clips Matter

By: Margo Pierce

More than 100 million people go online to research a company, product or service before they spend a single penny. That means these savvy shoppers, whether for business or personal needs, are probably checking you out before they pick up the phone or send an e-mail.

Marketing research shows that Baby Boomers (people born 1946-1964) number 77.2 million and 30 percent of those are regular online users. Generation X (born 1965 – 1979) number 83.3 million and are the most active online users. Generation Y (born 1980 – 1994) are 70.4 million in number and are the “most embedded” in social media.

This staggering number of Internet users includes some portion of your customer base – a fact you can’t afford to ignore.

The Impact of a Clip

Considering that 73 percent of adults now use Internet to research and find businesses and 92 percent do their research before going to the store, you need to know how these potential customers learn and how they will obtain the information.

Most will likely use a search engine to find your Web site and any customer reviews or comments. If that search brings back a social networking conversation about how much your current customers like your product and a blog post about your excellent customer service, that will have the potential to increase sales. Negative comments are equally important, but for other reasons.

If the source is a business journal or local newspaper, the credibility of that publication adds strength to the perspective offered. Social networking content is as valuable as the “over the back fence” recommendation made by a neighbor. Regardless of what people are saying and writing, a business owner needs to be aware of this valuable cyber-media resource in order to leverage the positive and do damage control on the negative.

How Clips Can Help Your Sales

Being aware of the “buzz” about your company means you will be better prepared to promote, sell and address concerns about your produce or service when you finally get to talk to a potential customer. Keeping track of the competition is also a helpful way to develop new ideas to augment a sales pitch or find ways to build up the benefits of your offerings. Even your Web site can benefit from this media intelligence.

If a potential customer goes straight to your Web site, she can find those glowing comments from unbiased sources. Better than a canned referral from a “satisfied customer” written specifically for you, clips about your company show potential customers that independent, credible sources have good things to say.

The electronic version of a print-edition newspaper article that is partly reprinted on your site and linked back to the original source creates an opportunity to prove the claims you make about the quality and benefits of your product or service. They can also attest to the character of your business by showing your commitment to community involvement when an article focuses on your involvement in a local charity event or contributions to a local food bank.

Now What?

In order to take advantage of the power of media mentions – Web clips, TV clips and print clips – its important to develop a strategy for how these clips will be found, preserved and utilized within your company.

Simply handing a four-color, glossy copy of a newspaper article to a sales representative isn’t going to close a deal. But that same article can be posted to your Web site and added to your Facebook page, the headline Tweeted to your existing clients and the content of the article worked into a sales pitch. Doing all before it’s handed to the potential customer in an electronic or paper sales packet gets the most mileage out of your media mention.

There also needs to be a way to stay on top of the most current information being circulated and archiving that valuable material. Having one article that’s two years old isn’t going to carry as much impact as a long list of positive articles and comments over the course of a year. Ongoing access to those articles and mentions can be difficult when Web sites and blogs are updated hourly – a commitment to preserving and consistently collecting the information is essential.

Finally, make sure everyone in your company understand the value of clips. Media mentions are only valuable when they’re leveraged properly. The value of clips is best explained in this way: which is more likely to persuade a customer to choose you over the competition – an ad you place in a publication or an article that sheds a favorable light on your company, staff or services?

Answer: Clips are cheaper than advertisements and they have a much greater impact.

________________________

Margo Pierce, author of The Complete Guide to Wills, Estates & Trusts: What You Need to Know Explained Simply (Atlantic Publishing, 2008), is an award winning freelance writer with over 300 articles in print in newspapers and magazines across the United States and Canada. A 2009 Peter Jennings Fellow with The Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution, Margo also received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and was a finalist for the 2008 Richard J. Margolis Award. Margo also has more than a decade of professional experience in marketing, communications and public relations with for-profit and non-profit organizations. www.writerdiva.com


There And Back Again

Well, here it is: My first post to our new blog.

I have been involved in the media industry for more than thirty years, and what an interesting ride it has been! First with my father’s news clipping business while I was in high school, then working in radio and TV time sales, then the advertising/public relations industries and back again to the business my Father started in 1962.

We re-named the company Mediagofer in 2002 to reflect our function as an office gofer and being a totally online news portal. We changed to Media Intel when we added broadcast and social networks to our monitoring service. But October 1st, we officially go back to Mediagofer after some loving encouragement from Intel corp. hence the title, there and back again. It may be an old name, but we’re more up-to-date than ever.

Much has changed since the days of reading and clipping news articles for
our clients. Newspapers are shrinking in original content everyday demanding that media-monitoring companies like ours change with the state of the media or perish with the printed page. As Tina Brown, Founder of The Daily Beast , former editor of Vanity Fair and The NewYorker magazines, said in an interview with Howard Kurtz, “Digital media is now driving the print industry”. Print will be with us for some time to come ( I hope a long time), but digital media is the driver of today’s news. It is only a matter of time digital broadband access changes broadcast television forever by the likes of Hulu  ( a venture initially started by NBC, FOX and ABC), You tube, Google/TV and other up and coming content providers. Clearly the Head Fred’s in broadcast saw the writing on the wall regarding broadcast’s future with the launch of Hulu.

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Identica, Digg , and Flickr and countless targeted forums and blogs have also changed the way we communicate and consume news and advertising. It is not enough to be fed news or advertising. Now, the public is part of the game, interacting with and influencing news and brands that want them as consumers.

At Mediagofer, we learned a long time ago that we have to stay on the forefront of media monitoring to be a real benefit to our clients. Monitoring print, broadcast, web and social networks is no longer enough to fill the needs of the marketplace. So we have spent 2010 gearing up for the launch of our social media management service October 1, 2010. The new suite of services, to unroll Oct 1, include blog-writing by award-winning journalists on behalf of our clients, and managing social media in ways that will promote, advocate and protect our clients’ brands.

I look forward to the day I see a tweet from our staff suddenly appear on a
digital interactive billboard advocating our client’s brand. That day is not
far away.

Jeff Ryan

President

MediaGofer, Inc.