Newspapers, Twitter, Facebook and Blogs

Just a quick post about some things that I follow and think about.

(It also gave  me an excuse to use this title which has a nice rhythm to it, kind of like “lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”)

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, D.-Md has introduced a bill to make newspapers tax exempt.  If newspapers chose nonprofit status they would have to refrain from making political endorsements.  It’s all a nice thought but it’s too little too late.  Newspapers’ decline is not a good thing for democracy, but the industry shot itself with its long-time complacency and arrogance, feeling as though it was important enough that circulation would never drop, people would always buy personal ads and businesses would always take out the too expensive display ads.

Most of us in the business have seen the signs of print faltering for some time but now the industry looks to me like an old man in a Model T Ford, pedal to the rusting metal, clutching the wheel as he tries to navigate a NASCAR race.

And so we turn to new media, social media, whatever we want to call it.

Good article on why Facebook redesigned itself and the users’ reaction to it.   Users hate the new Facebook, but blogger guru Robert Scoble has a different view.

It’s still amazing to me that a company a little more than five years old could try to buy another company (Twitter) for $500 million last summer.

Contrast  the print industry’s implosion with the explosive growth of Facebook, Myspace, Google and others and you can see the writing on the wall.  It’s written in billboard size fonts.

Problem: As professionals who disseminate information, as people who promote and market, we still haven’t found our footing in this new territory.

Finally, here’s a blog with 10 tips for using Twitter to build your blogging community.  It’s good, concise and helpful.  In fact, I’ll probably bookmark ShoutEm.


6 responses to “Newspapers, Twitter, Facebook and Blogs

  1. Dennis:
    While there’s no question that printed newspapers are in free fall decline, that doesn’t mean that the news industry is, too. Online “newspapers” have been growing fairly healthily – double digits – in terms of visitors, according to Nielson NetRatings data.

    The demise of print generates a lot of nostalgia in old-timers like myself — it’s kind of sad to see great organizations such as my own Rocky Mountain News (especially given that a good journalist like John Temple and other friends lost their jobs) and even the Seattle PI (which I was never terribly fond of) play their own funeral marches.

    But Web-based news is alive and well and amazingly good. The PI, a number of Michigan papers, and many others are forging ahead in this medium with gusto. More news available now than ever before, and growing. It’s merely a matter of letting go of the past and embracing the future.

  2. I hope that Bob is right and that the news business is not in peril but merely changing form. We all need to hope that’s the case.

    The key to a healthy fourth estate is a dependable way to make money, something the Internet has yet to provide. You know an industry is in trouble when my Sunday New York Times costs more than a share of NYT stock.

    There seem to be two opinions about the state of journalism today. One is that the loss of newspapers will be made up by a proliferation of reporting delivered on the web. The other is that the decline of newspapers will result in a reporting void, especially for deep-pockets investigative journalism; the kind that requires filing of Freedom of Information Act suits. If the first scenario is true we have no problems. If it isn’t, then these will be good times only for people who want to keep secrets.

  3. Dick:
    Good point about the investigative journalism void. But while I remain optimistic about Web-based journalism, what really is beginning to worry me is the options we all now have for consuming only the “news” that conforms to our own social and political worldview.

    While I never totally believed that unbiased journalism was the rule rule rather than the exception, it used to be that most newspapers tried to present a reasonably balanced view (some tried harder than others). Today, it is much easier than it used to be to find opinion masquerading as news. Why not read the Daily Kos or Town Hall instead of journalism?

    I fear that if such opinion sites drown out the balanced journalism sites, it will polarize us into camps even more than we already are.

  4. Gee, I heard about Twitting but your link to 10 Tips for using Twitter is very much simple and helpful. Great post.

  5. Great post! I’m always finding useful things on this blog. Thanks again – I’ll be subscribing to this RSS feed!

  6. PR Mania, Daren, thanks for the kind words and support. I appreciate it.

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