Category Archives: Time

The Digital Media vs Mainstream war takes another victim: Life

Life magazine is no more. Once again. The venerable brand that had been resurrected by Time for the third time in 2004 to serve as a newspaper supplement, is dead. The victim of declining newspaper advertising.

But, there is much more to this story. This is but one visible reminder of the tremendous upheaval underway in how we get news and information. As I blogged about earlier this year, this year is when digital or Internet media overtakes all media as the prime deliverer of news and information.

The impact of this on ad pages, stock prices, and the business climate for mainstream media is effectively told in this story from Dow Jones’ MarketWatch. 

But, my experience is that most of us in the media business are largely ignoring these signs of tremendous change. We don’t really understand them. The whole digital and Internet world is wild, confusing, too technical, out of control and too dominated by young males who have far too much time on their hands and should go back to playing video games, or better yet, go get a job. That’s at least how many of us perceive it. The reality is more and more that everyone, young and old, male and female, rich and poor, is changing how they get news, get insight and understanding of events and people and organizations that interest them, and how they interact with each other and network together.

What I have encountered in just the last few months has been stunning to me. Discovering, for example, in discussion with the CIO of a large university that email doesn’t work to reach students anymore.  Discovering yesterday, in conversation with Sally Falkow of www.press-feed.com that your press release distribution mechanism had better include a built in method of listing on a whole bunch of social media sites. And that there are a lot more than newsvine and digg it.

Sometimes it feels wearying. But the reality is, it doesn’t matter how old you are or how much or how little experience you have in this business, if you are not constantly learning what is going on in the public information environment, you are going to get left behind. And the cost of getting left behind will be high.

YouTube, Michael De Kort, and the new whistleblower phenomenon

Wow, talk about getting legs. Yesterday I blogged (based on a lawyer’s blog) about the latest whistleblower strategy using YouTube. Today it is in Time Magazine.

There are so many things to comment about this. This one I can’t avoid. James Bruni made the point that PR folks should be refocusing on mainstream media and admit they can’t control the blogosphere. He’s right about no control, but here is an example of a whistleblower’s probably unwarranted complaints suddenly making big time news via the MSM. And it came about through the new social media of the video site YouTube, plus probably the blog discussion. You simply can’t draw lines like that, Mr. Bruni. It is all important, and the blogworld and social media world is getting every more important.

Note what the Lockheed spokesperson says about not trusting what people put on YouTube. And then the comment from the reporter–“‘Anybody with a webcam and something to say, regardless of whether it’s true or not, can say it on YouTube,'” complained a Lockheed spokeswoman. This is, of course, the same charge leveled against bloggers and other amateur newsgatherers; and one could argue that is precisely the point.”

Crisis communicators–ever more vigilance is needed. You need eyes on all sides of your heads and not up your backside. What is said in one presumably obscure corner of the vast global conversation can find its way into Time and the front page of newspapers in mere moments. Is this an instant news world?