Welcome to MediaReset.com
You’ve arrived at a blog about transforming the companies that publish newspapers. And it’s a blog with an unorthodox point of view.
Here it is: News will not save you.
Why not? Because the disruption that’s pounding newspaper companies is not about people switching their news consumption from print to the web, smartphones, iPads, Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else.
It really isn’t about news at all. It’s far bigger than that.
It’s about information being set free. For the first time in homo sapiens’ 200,000 years, people can get any kind of information, anywhere, any time, almost all of it free.
The disruption of the news business is about people suddenly having infinite information choices, spreading their media attention in many new directions and — as an unconscious consequence — demoting news to just one of their many interests. In the digital world, news will no longer generate market-leading local audiences, and the business model of display ads adjacent to news will no longer be enough to support the big newsrooms of the past.
The cause of all this is the revolution in information technologies over the last 150 years, from presses and broadcast transmitters in the mass media era to digital systems in the new infinite media era. As the cost of moving information has dropped to near zero, the amount of information in the pipe has spiked quickly toward infinity.
Information is going from scarcity to infinity in our lifetimes, with profound implications in all directions.
For the most part, this blog focuses on how these changes are affecting news and newspaper companies. That’s just a small part of the information revolution sweeping the earth, but for the news business, it is huge, painful and confounding.
We’ve been shedding people, outsourcing functions, trimming web widths and compressing everything we can to push costs down in line with our plummeting revenues. At the same time, most newspaper companies are doubling down on digital — redoubling their efforts to sell digital advertising and pushing their newsrooms to become multimedia, digital-first and social-savvy.
All of that is necessary, but it’s not enough. Not even close.
All but the most innovative local media companies are still too focused on digital news and adjacent display advertising, as if the old print model can save them on the Web. But news simply can’t win enough digital audience share to compete against the digital giants. In a later post, I’ll show hard evidence of this. We need far bigger audiences — and we have to go beyond news to get them.
How? The largest and most powerful dynamic of the new infinite pipe — its support of personal and interpersonal information networks — will fashion a new model of community information. News can fit into the model, but the model — like the infinite pipe itself — will be social, user-driven, person-centered and commerce-enabling. The old news paradigms will change, with or without the consent of the traditional media. Much more on this later.
If the old news media can get their minds around the opportunity to create new and vastly richer platforms of community information-sharing — while developing crack digital advertising sales teams that can deliver any audiences their customers need — they may have hope. They can drive much greater digital revenues, and they can fulfill, far better than ever, the core mission that has inspired newspaper people for generations: Helping people lead better lives through information.
And that’s what this blog is all about.
If this is your first time here, I’d suggest you start out by reading Parts I, II and III, in order. See the little directory on the main page, under “Steve Gray’s Blog.”