MarComedy: Don’t make me laugh

For what tickles my fancy in media, communications and life in general.

The ‘New’ Newspapers

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An article from The Globe and Mail today reports on a discussion that took place at the Associated Press Managing Editors annual conference. The article reviews a panel discussion where online journalists offered a warning to their print counterparts that they must embrace the digital age or be left behind.

This goes well beyond just transferring their print editions online, as many newspapers currently do, but recognizing that

from video and photo galleries to podcasts and blogs, the Web is opening new doors to entice in readers and otherwise build community.

“People are desperate for community,” Jon Fortt, senior editor of Business2.0 magazine, said during a panel discussion on attracting young readers.

We have seen some examples of this already. The Toronto Star now offers a mid-day, online only, edition of its paper. Many papers allow readers to comment on stories and many journalists are writing blogs that are hosted by their employers (even more write blogs that aren’t). Most majors also utilize RSS technology to allow readers to pull content to them.

But as the article points out, newspapers are also competing with other online sources for readership – Google, and the blogosphere to name just a few. Many of these kinds of sites incorporate video and create forums where communities of interest can grow and flourish.

While this presents a whole host of challenges to the newspaper industry, it also opens up many opportunities for the PR community. There’s already a thriving interest in social media among the PR set but, as the media embraces technology and advances accordingly, the opportunity for public relations practitioners and agencies to offer increased value to their clients and the media is enormous.

Among the things I hope to see more of in public relations:

  • Streaming video releases (news releases, product launches)
  • Increased credibility, transparency and accountability in corporate blogs
  • Virtual Events (SecondLife anyone?)
  • Using RSS for real-time (or much closer to it) news updates
  • Virtual Tours (of places and products)
  • More online communities – Xbox has created a community where gamers can interact with each other (and Xbox’s marketers can take on their own identities to solicit feedback and seed new product news, tips, etc..)

PR is already embracing tactics that bypass the media to create meaningful connections between companies (organizations, individuals, etc…) and their stakeholders. By continuing to drive this change, PR can be in a powerful position to shape the future of the news media (look at how many bloggers are already being pulled in as commentators on TV news).

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Written by Jonathan Dunn

October 26, 2006 at 7:11 pm

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