How social media is changing newspapers

newspapersThere has been an interesting debate taking place on Buzzmachine about the future of newspapers. The blog argues that the traditional model of newspapers is now dead but old thinking still prevails which is why so many newspapers are in a mess. Here’s a summary:

Old way: Newspaper was a product
New way: News organisations provide a service

Old way: Readers sat still to observe a performance
New way: Readers are participatory

Old way: Newspapers tried to be all things to all people, serving a mass geographic audience
New way: news organisations strive to serve a mass of niche communities that already exist (some geographic, but most based on interests)

Old way: newspapers marketed themselves to a population
New way: news organisations converse, engage and collaborate with the communities they serve; the population markets the news organisation among itself

Old way: editor in charge choosing stories which the editor thought the
readers/audience wanted
New way: readers are in charge. They read what they want, when they want.

This is I think a very useful guide to the impact that social media is having not only on newspapers but on organisations as well.

Organisations have focused on just marketing products. But now they have to converse, engage and collaborate with the communities they serve. They cannot be all things to all people.

And the online audience is just going to read what it wants. Therefore it better be relevant, useful and interesting otherwise it will be ignored.