If you found your way here, it must be because you are a lover of all things communication. Either that, or you mistyped something and you now can’t figure out why this blog is relevant to you. Hopefully, it’s the first reason.

I am the managing editor of a daily community newspaper in Alabama and also a Strategic Communications graduate student at Troy University. I’ve spent time as a television photojournalist, live truck operator, television reporter, newspaper reporter, newspaper editor, radio personality and was once an international spokesperson for a non-profit organization.

Communication and finding new ways to communicate have been an important part of my career, but emerging media has also provided ways to stay in touch with friends across the globe and network with others in the communication business.

Communication efforts have come a long way. I remember the first cell phone I had, which could only make phone calls. So strange, right? A phone that makes phone calls? Sixteen years later, I’ve moved into the iPhone 5world and it’s hard to imagine not being able to text, talk and surf the Net – all with the help of Siri.

Remember that nifty little social networking fad, MySpace? Who would have thought back then that we’d trade that in for a Facebook and Twitter combo?

It’s common now to read a newspaper on a Nook or Kindle or even a smartphone instead of wait for the morning print edition to arrive on your doorstep. So, what happens to traditional papers and magazines?

This blog will explore some of those ideas and will provide a weekly update on emerging media and strategic communications. Sometimes topics will be serious, sometimes they will be funny. Other times, they could be seriously funny.

There will also be “quick hits” from time to time on communication trends and tidbits as I do my best to be a thirty something trying to keep up with the “cool kids.”

I hope that you will check back often to see what’s new in the world of communication and even offer your own insights as to what will help (and hurt) the future of journalism and public relations.

This week’s topic is the changing face of media and how we consume news. The Poynter Institute cited an online survey by Knowledge Networks that was released last year, noting that 53 percent of people get their news from what is known as Web-native news sources. Those are sites, such as Yahoo! News, the Huffington Post and the Drudge Report, that are independent of a print product and are only known because of an online presence.

Forty-three percent of those surveyed said they trusted sources such as CNN, Fox and The New York Times. Fifteen percent of folks, Knowledge Networks found, used social media sites to catch up on the day’s events.

Furthermore, the study showed that news consumption varies based on age groups. Millennials are more likely to get their news from Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, followed by Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. That’s really no big surprise to anyone, though, I don’t think.

How we share news was no big surprise, either. Baby Boomers are more likely to share news by word of mouth, Gen Xers are more likely to email news to other people and Millennials are more likely to post links to news stories on social network sites or feeds. Knowledge Networks also found that a significant number of Baby Boomers still clip items from newspapers to share and save.

Something I found from the study that was a little surprising is that fewer people subscribe to newspapers than have smartphones, but more people get their news from newspapers than they do by reading on their phones. Also surprising, even with all the social networking done by young people, older people are more likely to get news first. The survey results reported could be because young people sleep in and older one get up early. The early bird gets the worm, AND the news, it seems.

So, what does all this data mean?

For starters, it means that media outlets who want to stay relevant have to find a balance between retaining older, more traditional, news consumers, while also attracting Millennials who have smartphones glued to their hands for most of the day. Some newspapers, such as the Times Picayune, The Birmingham News, the Mobile Press-Register and The Huntsville Times, have modified their news production to include daily web news and abbreviated printing schedules. That may prove to be the solution for metro papers, but those changes are relatively new when it comes to tracking success. So, it’s a wait and see process to find out if that route is a financially viable option.

According to a piece on USAToday.com, some companies are looking to segregate their profitable print products from failing ones, or sell print products all together. The story notes that Time Warner is in talks to sell magazines, including People, InStyle and Real Simple and keep Time, Sports Illustrated and Fortune. The Tribune Co. is known for The Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune and wants to sell some of it’s eight total papers so the company can focus on their television stations.

But while larger print products have been feeling the heat for quite some time, smaller papers seem to be hanging in there. And some investors, such as Warren Buffett, see the value that could still be there. His purchase of 60 small papers, including The Dothan Eagle, is evidence of that.

I tend to think the longevity of community papers will be greater than metro newspapers. I see that in our subscribers at the paper I help to manage. While our paper is in a town with a strong college population, it’s also in a rural county. There are farmers and their families who live in areas with little to know cell phone coverage and older people who don’t even own computers. While subscriptions aren’t as strong as they used to be, advertisers and community members prefer that their ads and stories are in the traditional print edition of our paper. We aren’t suffering as much as newspapers in larger cities where morning commuters are using tablets to peruse the news.

What do you think? Any great answers for helping media companies, both print and broadcast, retain their customers and gain new ones? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time, take care! You’re welcome to visit my nest at robbynsnest.wordpress.com, any time, or bookmark the blog. I look forward to future encounters!


Posted on March 20, 2013, in Journalism, Just Because, New Media, Public Relations, Social Media, Strategic Communications, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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