Newspapers Plunge, Obama Uses New & Minority Media

Skimming through AdAge online I came upon this op-ed by Mike Hughes of The Martin Agency on why the ad industry needs to support newspapers. Do Some Good: Create Newspaper Ads.

It’s a great example of the brontosaurus mindlessly plodding while the world continues evolving.  We need newspapers — or at least trustworthy reporters and honest editors — but the dailies are dying.  Hughes’ piece, especially coupled with the 30-plus critical responses from people in the news and ad business, is a classic and should be read in every college journalism, advertising and PR course.

It should also be read by us in the PR and marketing business.

A good encapsulation of the challenge — and where we’re at in this transition– is Aggregation Forces Journalistic Evolution


Meanwhile, as the corporate print industry bleeds massive red ink, Barack Obama emerges as the most media savvy president ever.  Read Obama Sets New Standards for Managing the News.

I have mixed feelings about this.  There’s a very fine line between understanding  and manipulation.    I’m impressed with his team’s recognition of the new/social/minority media and ability to embrace it for maximum effectiveness.

I certainly prefer Obama’s media savvy to the Bush Administration’s tactics of disinformation and censorship.

At the same time, the Obama Administration’s acknowledgment and use of the new media needs to be monitored. Use of controlled leaks and advanced leaks to targeted new media underscores a really good understanding of how people are communicating these days.

Understanding can lead to consensus.  It can also lead to control.

Most news bloggers get their news from the very media that’s dying.  The vast majority of bloggers don’t have editors nor were they trained as reporters.  Very few of them cross-check facts.  (A lot of them don’t even check their spelling).

Therefore, most of them are more susceptible to bias and manipulation.

We’re in a time of major transition and I hope we come out of it with some sort outlets for reporters who see journalism as a noble profession, who are hungry for the truth, and who maintain healthy skepticism.

What’s all this have to do with higher education?  Concerning the dying industry, our college administrative leaders still judge our success by how much we appear in print or on TV.  I know most people in our business are trying to educate them about this massive shift (as we work to sort it out ourselves).

Concerning the new media and journalism: if real, fearless, caring  journalists begin disappearing, so too does democracy.


One response to “Newspapers Plunge, Obama Uses New & Minority Media

  1. The Hughes article and the responses are fascinating. One person discussed how newspapers ignored the small advertiser. There’s truth in that. Years ago I started a weekly paper in a market where the daily had priced small retailers right out of the paper. Our weekly became successful by running a lot of small, inexpensive display ads.

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