Advice for Traditional and Local News Media

Someone, a brave someone, from Boston’s local TV news scene asked a question to a panel with representatives from MySpace, Facebook, Eons, IBM, and a virtual worlds builder. She said she wanted to know the role of traditional media in this space, and what road she and her organization should get on for the future of media. Their answers were all over the map, but Jeff Taylor (former founder of Monster, current founder of Eons) had the start of a thoughtful answer, and his response blended with something someone else said earlier (either Jeff again, or Tom Arrix of Facebook): that if we observe the Superbowl ads for 2008, we’ll notice that the majority of them will point us to a web property. So, with this as backdrop, some advice.

Be Brief On Air, Go Deep Offline

The current champions of this method are NPR. They post all their subsequent materials, including longer versions of interviews, on their website for further review. For people you want to know about, watching or listening to just the snippets that make the news isn’t always enough. Having the option to go deeper is a great service that takes advantage of all the quality work a journalistic team has put into the experience.

This is a value-add for people interested in a particular story, but it’s also clever for marketing and understanding your customer base. We can track and observe and understand the behaviors of people, so that we may better serve them. That’s the first line value.

Integrate Local Social Media Types

Papers and TV are still missing an opportunity to “draft” independent media makers into their work. Move to an upstream, editorial and curation relationship with people who can go into their own communities, surface stories of interest to them, and then bring this body of work to editors and curators who can understand which of these stories are right for the air, which would do fine on the web, and which might merit further professional reporting, with a hat tip back to the original creator.

Embed Community Technology Into Your Sites

Pluck up the best of blogs and videoblogs in the area. Build community conversation sections, even if that invites critics to come out and shoot at your stories a bit. Build chat rooms for during-the-news discussion experiences. There are tons of ways to empower the voice of your audience to have reciprocal value. These are just a few. You probably have a few more.

Make Your Media Portable

Take some of the deep stories and make podcasts out of them. Give us embed codes for your media. Make a spot for metadata like user tagging. Give us ways to build your media into our sites and spread your word to more sources.

Switch Sensation for Causes and Empowerment

We put a premium on stories of what’s going wrong. Of course, it’s important to know about some of the bad news we’re getting out there, but why aren’t stories about where we can help coming to the fore in LOCAL news? Why aren’t we learning about people doing great work more often? Right now, they have that slot at the very end of the newscast, where the two or three people on desk make that weird half smile.

Push the empowerment stories up, and bring that into your deep web coverage as well.

Random and YOUR Ideas

One more thing: do we NEED everyone at a desk with monitors behind them, or sitting in fake living rooms? Aren’t there other settings? We haven’t mixed it up much for over 50 years. I guess this isn’t social media advice, but hey.

And what else? What do you think? How can we fix the news?

The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [chrisbrogan.com] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.

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  • http://www.ddmcd.com Dennis McDonald

    I have another, although radical suggestion: local news media should PAY bloggers, podcasters, and other creators of “user generated content” to republish their content. This will be an indication of the value of the content and will result in more attention being paid to placement, promotion, and ultimately, pricing of advertising by the local outlet.

    I’ve been surprised at how many times I’ve been approached by sites of various kinds to “republish” my stuff for free, and some of the requesters are reputable properties whose sites are already crawling with ads. Granted, I’m no A-lister, but in our economy cash on the barrelhead still counts for something.

    Dennis McDonald
    http://www.ddmcd.com

  • http://www.ddmcd.com Dennis McDonald

    I have another, although radical suggestion: local news media should PAY bloggers, podcasters, and other creators of “user generated content” to republish their content. This will be an indication of the value of the content and will result in more attention being paid to placement, promotion, and ultimately, pricing of advertising by the local outlet.

    I’ve been surprised at how many times I’ve been approached by sites of various kinds to “republish” my stuff for free, and some of the requesters are reputable properties whose sites are already crawling with ads. Granted, I’m no A-lister, but in our economy cash on the barrelhead still counts for something.

    Dennis McDonald
    http://www.ddmcd.com

  • http://www.lcslimited.co.uk/dcampbell Dominic Campbell

    Hi

    Thought you might like to see how one leading regional paper in the UK is doing pretty good job at it.

    http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/

  • http://rosemary.reilman.com Rosie

    Our local paper – Charlotte Observer – has a twitter feed and it’s fabulous. Especially when they do traffic updates! But it’s not embedded on their site. (Or at least I can’t find it) But as a non-subscriber to the paper, the twitter updates are great for me because I get the headlines that way and then click on the link when I want to read the story.

  • http://www.lcslimited.co.uk/dcampbell Dominic Campbell

    Hi

    Thought you might like to see how one leading regional paper in the UK is doing pretty good job at it.

    http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/

  • http://rosemary.reilman.com Rosie

    Our local paper – Charlotte Observer – has a twitter feed and it’s fabulous. Especially when they do traffic updates! But it’s not embedded on their site. (Or at least I can’t find it) But as a non-subscriber to the paper, the twitter updates are great for me because I get the headlines that way and then click on the link when I want to read the story.

  • http://www.jonathancoffman.com Jonathan Coffman

    Very well thought out Chris and in fact at least in the newsrooms that I work with, those are all ideas that they’re throwing around. However there is this ‘culture of fear, of technology’ in modern newsrooms.

    There are enough people still in the industry from 50, even 60 years ago and who hold high-level positions that don’t see the value in new- and social- media.

    I’m working on a project right now actually with some seed money from the Reynolds Journalism Institute that (i hope!) will revolutionize the way people interact with local news media. We’ll see what happens, I’ve only got about 8 days until I launch my findings and application.

    As far as newspapers are concerned, there is a major shift underway as you very well know, the good thing is that they’re vastly more open to these ideas of online community building and interactivity. (Good for me as well because I’m job hunting to do such projects!).

    Unfortunately however, the management types in newspapers are prone to handing down decisions like “We’re a web-first newsroom” which only carries weight if you know what you’re talking about. And the research that I’ve seen shows that in fact they don’t know what they’re getting into and the follow-through can often be weak.

    Have a wonderful day and thanks for the delightful post!

  • http://www.jonathancoffman.com Jonathan Coffman

    Very well thought out Chris and in fact at least in the newsrooms that I work with, those are all ideas that they’re throwing around. However there is this ‘culture of fear, of technology’ in modern newsrooms.

    There are enough people still in the industry from 50, even 60 years ago and who hold high-level positions that don’t see the value in new- and social- media.

    I’m working on a project right now actually with some seed money from the Reynolds Journalism Institute that (i hope!) will revolutionize the way people interact with local news media. We’ll see what happens, I’ve only got about 8 days until I launch my findings and application.

    As far as newspapers are concerned, there is a major shift underway as you very well know, the good thing is that they’re vastly more open to these ideas of online community building and interactivity. (Good for me as well because I’m job hunting to do such projects!).

    Unfortunately however, the management types in newspapers are prone to handing down decisions like “We’re a web-first newsroom” which only carries weight if you know what you’re talking about. And the research that I’ve seen shows that in fact they don’t know what they’re getting into and the follow-through can often be weak.

    Have a wonderful day and thanks for the delightful post!

  • Pingback: Advice for Traditional and Local News Media | Marketing

  • http://www.lovekatie.net Katie

    Great post. The future of media is integration. Particularly when discussing where advertising (and this may be a slight tangent to your post) is headed it’s all about cross platform campaigns that take the consumer from a TVC or print ad to a website that offers more info and an incentive to get the user to enter a contact email/cell# so that they become part of database for further targeted email & cell promotions & marketing.

    Yahoo!7 is doing great work in Australia currently with exploring integrated options to put on offer as a campaign package to advertisers to make use of all their properties – Yahoo (online), Seven (television), Pacific Publications (magazine), mNet (mobile). This way traditional media doesn’t lose out in the race to move advertising online etc. Advertising is an exciting place to be right now.

  • http://www.lovekatie.net Katie

    Great post. The future of media is integration. Particularly when discussing where advertising (and this may be a slight tangent to your post) is headed it’s all about cross platform campaigns that take the consumer from a TVC or print ad to a website that offers more info and an incentive to get the user to enter a contact email/cell# so that they become part of database for further targeted email & cell promotions & marketing.

    Yahoo!7 is doing great work in Australia currently with exploring integrated options to put on offer as a campaign package to advertisers to make use of all their properties – Yahoo (online), Seven (television), Pacific Publications (magazine), mNet (mobile). This way traditional media doesn’t lose out in the race to move advertising online etc. Advertising is an exciting place to be right now.

  • http://www.9neighbors.com Rick Burnes

    Right on.

    The beauty of all your first points is that if they’re carried out, the last happens organically. As people bring real voice and authenticity to their reporting, that fake studio veneer disappears.

  • http://www.9neighbors.com Rick Burnes

    Right on.

    The beauty of all your first points is that if they’re carried out, the last happens organically. As people bring real voice and authenticity to their reporting, that fake studio veneer disappears.

  • http://www.jonathancoffman.com Jonathan Coffman

    To Dennis up above, that’s a great idea but not one that’s feasible until someone learns how to monetize the web. Newsrooms right now (not a single one that I’ve been in to, and I’ve been into a lot (the job hunting thing again)…

    All of them admit that “our sales team doesn’t really know how to sell the web” and that’s one of the major reasons why we aren’t seeing this innovation in journalism and local news already…cash…

    They just don’t have it, and if they do they’re spending it on things other than the web because they know they can make more money off of on-air ads and in-newspaper ads since the sales folk haven’t figured out how to sell online advertising.

    Many TV stations especially are still ‘throwing in’ web banner ads when companies buy on-air time. This devalues the HUGE spending and revenue stream that the web has. Now there’s a habit that needs to be broken… no more free advertising on news web sites to seal the deal for ‘traditional’ ad space.

    If the web is going to be taken seriously in the field of journalism it needs to make money (sad but true), and as of yet I don’t think anyone has figured out a very effective way of making the same kind of margins on the web that they’re used to getting in ‘traditional’ media… although I would argue of course that the web is in fact ‘traditional’ now. But that’s another blog topic isn’t it? :-)

  • http://www.jonathancoffman.com Jonathan Coffman

    To Dennis up above, that’s a great idea but not one that’s feasible until someone learns how to monetize the web. Newsrooms right now (not a single one that I’ve been in to, and I’ve been into a lot (the job hunting thing again)…

    All of them admit that “our sales team doesn’t really know how to sell the web” and that’s one of the major reasons why we aren’t seeing this innovation in journalism and local news already…cash…

    They just don’t have it, and if they do they’re spending it on things other than the web because they know they can make more money off of on-air ads and in-newspaper ads since the sales folk haven’t figured out how to sell online advertising.

    Many TV stations especially are still ‘throwing in’ web banner ads when companies buy on-air time. This devalues the HUGE spending and revenue stream that the web has. Now there’s a habit that needs to be broken… no more free advertising on news web sites to seal the deal for ‘traditional’ ad space.

    If the web is going to be taken seriously in the field of journalism it needs to make money (sad but true), and as of yet I don’t think anyone has figured out a very effective way of making the same kind of margins on the web that they’re used to getting in ‘traditional’ media… although I would argue of course that the web is in fact ‘traditional’ now. But that’s another blog topic isn’t it? :-)

  • http://www.mikespoints.com/category/journalism/ Mike Driehorst

    Local, local, local (think hyperlocal is the term). Local media’s strength is their knownledge of the community. Focus on local because they can’t compete with national and international news. Too many sources there.

    Increase online advertising revenue rates. Newspaper sites are the most heavily-trafficked sites. Use that advantage.

    Though not lately, I’ve blogged on this before. If curious, my link takes visitors to my “journalism” category. But, the main points are above.

    Chris makes some good points. I’ve seen my local (Toledo, Ohio, Blade) add video to its stories. It’s a start.
    Mike

  • http://www.MoneyPowerWisdom.com Dr.Mani

    The most interesting opinion piece I read lately about the ‘Future of Newspapers’ was on Scott Adams’ Dilbert Blog. It’s similar to what Dennis (Comment #1) outlined… having a panel of bloggers whose stories get VOTED to the newspaper front page.

    Tie that in with hyper-local reporting (regular people writing about their neighborhood happenings with their unique insights), and publish multiple ‘regional editions’ of the digital version of a newspaper (maybe even one for each neighborhood, rather than city/town) – while leveraging the established ‘commercial’ features of traditional media (selling advertisements, sponsorships, professional editors, etc.)… and then finesse it by having readers decide which content makes it to the most visible sections!

    Bloggers get paid like freelancers, depending upon how often their stories get ‘published’ or how ‘visible’ they are.

    Not sure if I explained that well.

    All success
    Dr.Mani

  • http://www.mikespoints.com/category/journalism/ Mike Driehorst

    Local, local, local (think hyperlocal is the term). Local media’s strength is their knownledge of the community. Focus on local because they can’t compete with national and international news. Too many sources there.

    Increase online advertising revenue rates. Newspaper sites are the most heavily-trafficked sites. Use that advantage.

    Though not lately, I’ve blogged on this before. If curious, my link takes visitors to my “journalism” category. But, the main points are above.

    Chris makes some good points. I’ve seen my local (Toledo, Ohio, Blade) add video to its stories. It’s a start.
    Mike

  • http://www.MoneyPowerWisdom.com Dr.Mani

    The most interesting opinion piece I read lately about the ‘Future of Newspapers’ was on Scott Adams’ Dilbert Blog. It’s similar to what Dennis (Comment #1) outlined… having a panel of bloggers whose stories get VOTED to the newspaper front page.

    Tie that in with hyper-local reporting (regular people writing about their neighborhood happenings with their unique insights), and publish multiple ‘regional editions’ of the digital version of a newspaper (maybe even one for each neighborhood, rather than city/town) – while leveraging the established ‘commercial’ features of traditional media (selling advertisements, sponsorships, professional editors, etc.)… and then finesse it by having readers decide which content makes it to the most visible sections!

    Bloggers get paid like freelancers, depending upon how often their stories get ‘published’ or how ‘visible’ they are.

    Not sure if I explained that well.

    All success
    Dr.Mani

  • http://markharrison.wordpress.com Mark Harrison

    Well, I stopped reading our local paper last year, haven’t read a national newspaper for several years, and watch maybe 30 minutes of TV in the average week, so I guess for me the ONLY answer is “Look, just make your content available on the web, ideally as an RSS feed.”

    As an aside, I know what you mean about backgrounds. For the last few years, I pretty much talk all my video against a background of books in bookcases… but that’s more a reflection of every room in the house than a personal branding choice :-)

  • http://markharrison.wordpress.com Mark Harrison

    Well, I stopped reading our local paper last year, haven’t read a national newspaper for several years, and watch maybe 30 minutes of TV in the average week, so I guess for me the ONLY answer is “Look, just make your content available on the web, ideally as an RSS feed.”

    As an aside, I know what you mean about backgrounds. For the last few years, I pretty much talk all my video against a background of books in bookcases… but that’s more a reflection of every room in the house than a personal branding choice :-)

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  • http://www.providentpartners.net/blog Albert Maruggi

    You all should take a look at http://www.helium.com it has many of the elements mentioned in this post and its comments.

    Podcast with Helium CEO http://tinyurl.com/yoh2n2

  • http://www.providentpartners.net/blog Albert Maruggi

    You all should take a look at http://www.helium.com it has many of the elements mentioned in this post and its comments.

    Podcast with Helium CEO http://tinyurl.com/yoh2n2

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    Newspaper sites are the most heavily-trafficked sites. Use that advantage.

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    Haven't read a national newspaper for several years, and watch maybe 30 minutes of TV in the average week, so I guess for me the ONLY answer is “Look, just make your content available on the web, ideally as an RSS feed.”

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    Newspaper sites are the most heavily-trafficked sites. Use that advantage.

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    Well, I stopped reading our local paper last year, haven’t read a national newspaper for several years, and watch maybe 30 minutes of TV in the average week, so I guess for me the ONLY answer is “Look, just make your content available on the web, ideally as an RSS feed.

  • http://www.savetubevideo.com video downloader free download

    This is a value-add for people interested in a particular story, but it’s also clever for marketing and understanding your customer base. We can track and observe and understand the behaviors of people, so that we may better serve them. That’s the first line value.

  • http://www.savetubevideo.com video downloader free download

    This is a value-add for people interested in a particular story, but it’s also clever for marketing and understanding your customer base. We can track and observe and understand the behaviors of people, so that we may better serve them. That’s the first line value.