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You have often heard us say that media criticism is like asbestos abatement: It’s dirty, dangerous work that is best left to the professionals.
After all, we would rather talk about the news than talk about the news about the news. Far too many in politics and journalism today cop out on real coverage by reflexively defaulting to trashing the press.
According to some theories, “news” is whatever the news industry sells Journalism, broadly understood along the same lines, is the act or occupation of collecting and providing news.
From a commercial perspective, news is simply one input, along with paper (or an electronic server) necessary to prepare a final product for distribution.
A news agency supplies this resource “wholesale” and publishers enhance it for retail.
This insurmountable flow of news can daunt people and cause information overload. We can call this period the “technetronic era”, in which “global reality increasingly absorbs the individual, involves him, and even occasionally overwhelms him.”
In cases of government crackdowns or revolutions, the Internet has often become a major communication channel for news propagation; while it’s a (relatively) simple act to shut down a newspaper, radio or television station, mobile devices such as smartphones and netbooks are much harder to detect and confiscate.
The propagation of internet-capable mobile devices has also given rise to the CITIZEN JOURNALIST, who provide an additional perspective on unfolding events.
Because internet does not have the “column inches” limitation of print media, online news stories can, but don’t always, come bundled with supplementary material.
The medium of the world wide web also enables hyperlinking, which allows readers to navigate to other pages related to the one they’re reading.Today the work of journalism can be done from anywhere and done well. It requires no more than a reporter and a laptop. In that way, journalistic authority seems to have become more individual- and less institution-based.
Quantitatively, the internet has massively expanded the sheer volume of news items available to one person. The speed of news flow to individuals has also reached a new plateau.
Online news has also changed the geographic reach of individual news stories, diffusing readership from city-by-city markets to a potentially global audience.
Steve Jobs – Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference, 1997
- Government proclamations, concerning royal ceremonies, laws, taxes, public health, have been dubbed news since ancient times.
- A media organisation should adapt to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by changing audience behaviour in our module entitled “Newsroom evolution from digital denial to digital first”.
- According to some theories, “news” is whatever the news industry sells Journalism, broadly understood along the same lines.
Liberals and conservatives alike engage in this practice, holding up one media outlet or an entire subset for abuse.
Some of these are just political proxy fights or efforts to discredit stories damaging to one’s preferred party, but most of it is a waste of your time. That’s why we usually skip it.
The challenges and opportunities presented by social media
Social media is an increasingly disruptive force on the media landscape. It challenges traditional, mainstream media to reconsider how they operate.
Social media often releases information about which mainstream media might not have been aware, and information that mainstream media might have tried to ignore.
It can offer a wider, more diverse perspective on life than that covered by traditional media.
An empowered audience
Now we look at what a social media strategy could mean for a media organisation. But first, let’s look at how we got to this stage in media’s development.
The media is in a constant state of change, or at least it should be. Technological advances, leading to changing audience behaviour, resulting in altered attitudes to consuming and sharing news, which means that a media organisation can’t afford to stand still.
Innovation is needed, but only if it makes business sense. There have been many stages of media evolution over the years, below we look at three.
The “broadcast AT or publish AT” model, the “engage with on our terms” model, and the “participate in” model.