My wife and I took a quick trip to Santa Barbara and had a wonderful time staying at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort. (The same place we got married). One of the “benefits” of staying here, and many other hotels around the country, is that you get a free copy of USA Today or some other newspaper.
The first morning we opened our door to leave and saw the paper sitting there on the ground in front of our door. I turned to my wife and asked “What is that?” Now, of course I know what a newspaper is and have even read them way back in the past. However, the fact that I have gotten to this point leads me to believe that there are other people out there that think the same way I do.
I generally see a traditional newspaper as something I would never want to seek news from. Why? Well I currently get an incredible assortment of news online and guess what? I get to choose exactly what type of news I want to read. Trust me, there isn’t a “one size fits all” paper in the world that would report on the things that interest me. I have a feeling that USA Today running Linux implementation stories and the latest gossip on various open source projects wouldn’t sell too well. However, the power of the internet lets me fully customize my information experience.
Also, why on earth would I want to limit the news I read to just one perspective? I usually find competing perspectives on the same news story through things like Google News and can help shape my own thoughts on the subject in a much more rational way.
Armed with my iPhone and laptop, I see no reason to seek out news in traditional media anymore. I will occasionally watch news coverage on TV for things like a “State of the Union” address, but find that when I watch a regular newscast I am completely disinterested in the many things they claim and spoon feed as “news”.
Every time I hear Murdoch or some other media dinosaur whine about Google, I realize how screwed these old business guys really are. Instead of complaining, they should be putting their resources into figuring out new revenue models online. My guess it will be some form of advertising, and many new startups are breaking new ground here while the old media companies simply grieve over their dying business model. I for one am finding that my own internet experience is actually being enhanced by new forms of advertising. Facebook is one of these great examples. Many times the ads catch my eye because they seem tailor fit to my interests. The media companies have a wonderful amount of statistics and data that they could use to really push the envelope here, but instead they just throw it away.
I’m sure the radio execs weren’t too happy when television really took off as an advertising medium, but terrestrial radio is still around. It’s about learning to adapt to new media not complaining about it. The internet is quickly becoming the great equalizer for all information. With its low barrier to entry and quick to market strengths you would think that these companies would be all over it. Rather, we are beginning to find that it will soon be all over for them.