There is no lostness like that which comes to a man when a perfect and certain pattern has dissolved about him.

— John Steinbeck

MORE DIMES, Part 1 of 5: Introduction

Since the approach of the 21st century, the journalism industry, and to a certain extent, all print and broadcast content production industries, have been concerned about two things:

▪     their place as viable information source in a world with withering copyright protections, instant theft of intellectual property and the complicity for the aforementioned in the general population, especially amongst the young.

▪     the lack of a viable business model, as new online services offer for free, the services that were was once an income stream for TV, radio and newspapers (ads).

The concerns are justified. Newspaper after newspaper has closed due to the loss of income from competition ranging from “aggregation” to popular blogs to online-only start-ups. It is said that due to audience erosion, there is no viable “business model” for professional journalism, and due to pirating, no secure model for radio, tv or any other digitally delivered content.

One of the most frequent cries from Television in particular, is that “we’re trading dollars for dimes.” Well, yes – the promise of delivering a mammoth audience, guaranteed available at a specific time, is becoming less predictable. The solution is not to hope things won’t change. That ship has sailed. And for those who don’t know it, there is nothing more destructive that that cry, heard so often just before collapse, “Stick to your core competencies!” The utterance of that single phrase means the company has lost it’s ability to re-imagine itself. Instead, it needs to innovate, or at very least, adapt.

Over the next few weeks, I will present are several basic models for the legacy businesses of journalism to consider, if they wish to return to their place as the primary source of a well-informed public. Summarily, they need to use the norms and mores of the new medium and culture to their advantage.


Copyright 2013, Craig Sinard. All Rights Reserved.