Sunday, January 11, 2009

Responding to Prepare for the Future, Skip the Present

To Prepare for the Future, Skip the Present

‘… today’s obsession with saving newspapers has meant that, for the most part, media companies have failed to plan adequately for tomorrow’s digital future.’

By Edward Roussel who is digital editor of the Telegraph Media Group (TMG)

Ed wrote a truly fine piece on ,
Nieman Reports (Harvard site). I have a few friends who are former Nieman scholars, so often take a run around the site. Do read the piece. Below was my response.

David Dunkley Gyimah says:
January 11, 2009 at 3:22pm
"Stop trying to control everything and just let go! LET GO! "

One of the more memorable aphorisms in 1999 from David Finch's "Fight Club".

Quite a few media execs are picking themselves up, handkerchief dabbing that upper lip; either they've got a hang of these abstract new rules and expressions e.g. (SEO, code-event driven multimedia) or they've confined themselves to the thinking: "it's all gonna stop soon - this madness".

This year we're told to expect the following:

- Increased traction to mobile web; writing twitter type micro stories
- Refinements in search string optimisation
- More APIs encouraging greater mash ups
- Thermo, 3D, and further breakthroughs in HD web video and videojournalism.

And then as one respected company, Razorfish, put it, expect more of the unexpected.

Sociologists might refer to this period of uncertainty and abstractness between journalism and the media's comprehension as "Grand Theory", when what we appear to be caught in is a highly fluid phase of Deduction.

Meaning you can match customs [macro and micro] and behaviours, to the way viewers and readers are inter and (intra) reacting with a myriad of new exhausting apps and modifications - spawning new social theories.

But you need to be in it, to see it, let alone win, which certainly shouldn't turn you into a techie shepherd, but open to the idea of the speed and paradigms of change affecting the media/consumer/ etc.

Countless newspapers, particular the big brands with room for "Chatham House" rule type experimenting, are already in there.

And, building up those figures may help thwart any future shocks. Or should that be "those future shocks".

Old sea hands scoff at 5m waves; quiet storm, they say, she'll get a lot more rougher yet.

As Ed put it, the dominant newspapers have an advantage over start-ups.....but time is running out.

Here in academia, and outside, with the an eye and modules on the future, a new generation of all round digi-journalists is gestating.

Thought-swilling piece Ed, and I have enjoyed the training and interaction with your extremely bright trainee multimedia journalists.

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