Can’t We All Just Get Along

A long time between posts, as several projects in July and a week’s vacation cut into writing time. I also had  chance to tackle my reading backlog, including an article by James Fallows on Google’s relationship with ink on paper journalism. The full read, here in the June issue of The Atlantic, is worth the time.

Fallows reports that Google is serious about helping traditional news organizations succeed in the new media world. After a reminder that the decline of newspapers began long before the Internet era (readership has trended down for 50+ years), he describes a range of Google initiatives to help media brands that have been trusted for decades build new business models that support credible reporting.  

Journalism, by any definition, is midstream in a fast river of change. There’s huge potential for both old school and new media practitioners to be pulled under or dashed into the rocks. If you think about it like white water rafting, the power of collaboration is clear (while leaving room for the occasional talented kayak pilot.)

If past is prologue, paper and flat panel displays will co-exist for a long time. “New” media (think radio and TV) create new consumption patterns, but previous formats adapt, survive and even thrive. Skilled reporters, editors and producers will always have a role in turning raw data into useful information. And no matter how what format we turn to for our news, trusted sources will have value. The challenge that providers face is to build models that capture this value. Getting help from Google to do just that is a great step forward.