Look for the Signs- They are Everywhere

printing press The story isn’t the story. It’s what you learn from it. That’s the secret message here.

Jeff Jarvis does it again. This time, he talks about how Arianna Huffington saves journalism. He’s not wrong. She is front and center of the mindset of people doing new, good, amazing things with journalism. Jarvis knows because he’s been screaming and shaking his chalky fists at everyone that things has to change, and then he told everyone what things had to change, and then it was up to you (in this case, “you” was journalists and the media).

But the story is about the signs.

Are You Watching?

Thomas Friedman’s book, The World Is Flat told us tons about what was coming next in business. He wrote about value chain disaggregation. He wrote about how things would splinter into components and that we’d have to hold on to the most valuable part of our various business workstreams, because a lot of it would move off to other places.

How many people made business changes accordingly?

Marketers, are you paying attention to who’s spending how much and where when you read magazines, watch TV, or see billboards? Are you extrapolating out what it means to you, your business, etc?

Expand Your Sources

No matter what your business (or whatever your use for social media), look for informational and inspirational sources outside of your main discipline, your vertical, and outside of even simple reason. Find stuff way outside your typical scope, and way far away from your own point of view.

Ask yourself frequently, “Where does this lead? What could this mean?”

If you’re in media, the stories are all around you. The model’s broken. Yep. The numbers are smaller. Yep. People aren’t as into paper. Yep. Ads online don’t make as much money as on paper. Sad, but yep.

Some companies are figuring it out. Others are just paddling forward.

The same is true for many thing: advertising, marketing, big companies versus more flexible companies, and several other things.

We can find signs, and we can decipher what they mean, or we can just shovel entertainment into our heads, and unplug every night.

Am I ranty? A bit. Am I wrong?

Photo credit Chimpanz APe

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  • http://www.veritascriminaldefense.com/ michael

    Excellent Blog. The article very clearly explains how journalism is an important element for one. It says how one should develop business and what are the steps to be taken.kalamazoo

  • http://www.veritascriminaldefense.com/ michael

    Excellent Blog. The article very clearly explains how journalism is an important element for one. It says how one should develop business and what are the steps to be taken.kalamazoo

  • http://www.fallenandflawed.com/ Demian Farnworth

    I can’t think of a better way to innovate, create, change and bust the old than to insert yourself into someone else’s POV. Chris, I appreciate your long range vision. Keep it up, social media prophet. ;-)

  • http://www.fallenandflawed.com/ Demian Farnworth

    I can’t think of a better way to innovate, create, change and bust the old than to insert yourself into someone else’s POV. Chris, I appreciate your long range vision. Keep it up, social media prophet. ;-)

  • Pingback: Change or perish « sullivankreiss.com

  • http://www.yourinstantappeal.com Vicki Kunkel

    Can’t believe I didn’t see this post until now…Oh well, better late than never to respond, I suppose.

    >>”It’s funny: if you talk innovation with the bulk of reporters, you hear all the negatives. Give a bunch of entrepreneurs the challenge, and they see opportunities.”<< — Chris Brogan

    As a former journalist (TV reporter and anchor for nearly a decade), I have a bit of a different perspective here, and can see both sides. But one side does have the advantage in the era of “new journalism”.

    It is BECAUSE I was on the journalism side, and BECAUSE I have also been an entrepreneur for 12 years, that I can see there are HUGE opportunities to make LOTS of money in journalism — AND to pay reporters well. But you won’t do it with the old model. (I have a new model that I have floated past a few venture capitalists, and they are excited. They haven’t given up on news. They think it’s a viable industry — IF it catches up with the rest of the world in terms of technology, business models, vertical markets, and so forth. Fingers crossed…I’m close to a deal on this.)

    To be sure, when I tell my former colleagues–those who have spent their entire adult lives in journalism — about my pending venture, they are skeptical and look for the “why-it-won’t-work” angle. Contrary to what a lot of business folks (who have never worked in journalism) think, that doesn’t mean reporters are negative; they’re not, for the most part. No. They’re not. They are just doing what they have been classically trained to do: to question, to play Devil’s advocate, and to think critically. That’s just looking at both sides of the issue. (Some dot-com entrepreneurs, among others, could have benefited from that mindset.)

    What I think we’re really dealing with is fear. I have noticed a great deal of fear among some reporters when ANY solution is proposed that isn’t from the “old school.” As Chris said, you have to look to the future. I would add that you have to look to WHY people read news, and WHO BENEFITS from having a newspaper or broadcast news stations in a market. You’d be surprised. Yes, it’s the citizenry. But it’s also a cadre of other entities and organizations. And if you want a free press, then you can’t be afraid to embrace a new way of financing news.

    I don’t expect reporters to easily embrace the new technologies, the new business models, the new ways of doing business; they aren’t business people and most have never started a company, had to do business plans, conduct market research, do a SWOT analysis or hedge a bet on the future of technology and public sentiment. That’s not their job nor their area of expertise, and I think it’s a bit harsh to chastise reporters for not knowing those things.

    Having said that, though, successful reporters in the future will have to know five things if they want to be employable: (1) great storytelling; (2) outstanding research and fact-checking skills; (3) an understanding of computer programming; (4) how to design, write, and create INTERACTIVE stories (and I don’t just mean a “comments” section after their stories), and –as Chris pointed out — (5) an understanding of how to market content. (1) and (2) most reporters already have mastered. But when speaking with J-school students (and some seasoned reporters) they balk at having to learn (3), (4), and (5), saying “that’s not the part of my brain that I use.” But that’s like saying a creative person who develops games “doesn’t use” that side of his brain to do the programming to get those games online, or that a novelist “doesn’t use” the part of his or her brain to create a viral marketing campaign for the book on the web.

    My apologies for rambling…It’s late, I’m jet-lagged, and a bit out of sorts. But this post is about a topic that as a former, classically-trained journalist and experienced entrepreneur, is near and dear to my heart.

  • http://www.yourinstantappeal.com Vicki Kunkel

    Can’t believe I didn’t see this post until now…Oh well, better late than never to respond, I suppose.

    >>”It’s funny: if you talk innovation with the bulk of reporters, you hear all the negatives. Give a bunch of entrepreneurs the challenge, and they see opportunities.”<< — Chris Brogan

    As a former journalist (TV reporter and anchor for nearly a decade), I have a bit of a different perspective here, and can see both sides. But one side does have the advantage in the era of “new journalism”.

    It is BECAUSE I was on the journalism side, and BECAUSE I have also been an entrepreneur for 12 years, that I can see there are HUGE opportunities to make LOTS of money in journalism — AND to pay reporters well. But you won’t do it with the old model. (I have a new model that I have floated past a few venture capitalists, and they are excited. They haven’t given up on news. They think it’s a viable industry — IF it catches up with the rest of the world in terms of technology, business models, vertical markets, and so forth. Fingers crossed…I’m close to a deal on this.)

    To be sure, when I tell my former colleagues–those who have spent their entire adult lives in journalism — about my pending venture, they are skeptical and look for the “why-it-won’t-work” angle. Contrary to what a lot of business folks (who have never worked in journalism) think, that doesn’t mean reporters are negative; they’re not, for the most part. No. They’re not. They are just doing what they have been classically trained to do: to question, to play Devil’s advocate, and to think critically. That’s just looking at both sides of the issue. (Some dot-com entrepreneurs, among others, could have benefited from that mindset.)

    What I think we’re really dealing with is fear. I have noticed a great deal of fear among some reporters when ANY solution is proposed that isn’t from the “old school.” As Chris said, you have to look to the future. I would add that you have to look to WHY people read news, and WHO BENEFITS from having a newspaper or broadcast news stations in a market. You’d be surprised. Yes, it’s the citizenry. But it’s also a cadre of other entities and organizations. And if you want a free press, then you can’t be afraid to embrace a new way of financing news.

    I don’t expect reporters to easily embrace the new technologies, the new business models, the new ways of doing business; they aren’t business people and most have never started a company, had to do business plans, conduct market research, do a SWOT analysis or hedge a bet on the future of technology and public sentiment. That’s not their job nor their area of expertise, and I think it’s a bit harsh to chastise reporters for not knowing those things.

    Having said that, though, successful reporters in the future will have to know five things if they want to be employable: (1) great storytelling; (2) outstanding research and fact-checking skills; (3) an understanding of computer programming; (4) how to design, write, and create INTERACTIVE stories (and I don’t just mean a “comments” section after their stories), and –as Chris pointed out — (5) an understanding of how to market content. (1) and (2) most reporters already have mastered. But when speaking with J-school students (and some seasoned reporters) they balk at having to learn (3), (4), and (5), saying “that’s not the part of my brain that I use.” But that’s like saying a creative person who develops games “doesn’t use” that side of his brain to do the programming to get those games online, or that a novelist “doesn’t use” the part of his or her brain to create a viral marketing campaign for the book on the web.

    My apologies for rambling…It’s late, I’m jet-lagged, and a bit out of sorts. But this post is about a topic that as a former, classically-trained journalist and experienced entrepreneur, is near and dear to my heart.

  • http://www.beapowerplayer.com Vicki Kunkel

    By the way, neither of my two current websites (www.beapowerplayer.com) nor (www.yourinstantappeal.com) are in any way related to the news venture I am in discussions about. Just wanted to clarify, since some folks may see the content that I create for companies, and think THAT is the model I am referring to. (I can just hear the protests now! LOL!) Rest assured, it’s not . As I said, I am in the early stages of discussions with VC partners on the news venture and, therefore, we don’t have anything available for public viewing yet.

  • http://www.beapowerplayer.com Vicki Kunkel

    By the way, neither of my two current websites (www.beapowerplayer.com) nor (www.yourinstantappeal.com) are in any way related to the news venture I am in discussions about. Just wanted to clarify, since some folks may see the content that I create for companies, and think THAT is the model I am referring to. (I can just hear the protests now! LOL!) Rest assured, it’s not . As I said, I am in the early stages of discussions with VC partners on the news venture and, therefore, we don’t have anything available for public viewing yet.