Fortune Magazine (March 1) has a fascinating short comment piece by Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, on the decline of newspapers.
Wales says that the quality of content created by some consumers is now much higher than that created by newspapers.
‘Already there’s a large movement of consumers generating all kinds of information online, and in many cases the quality is much higher than the content produced by media companies. This doesn’t mean people don’t trust newspapers but they’ve lost their exclusivity as an authoritative voice,’ he says.
The whole ecosystem of news is changing radically with blogs, tweets, YouTube videos all competing for attention. Newspapers are operating in a totally different environment which obviously has massive implications for managers of corporate news and guardians of brands. In the words of US social media commentator, Clay Shirky, ‘Here Comes Everybody’!
Managing news from a corporate perspective and brand perspective is about managing the process of news, managing the flow of information, and that means making corrections, putting news in context, linking to interesting sources of information, inviting comments and collaboration. For more insights on this development read Jeff Jarvis on Buzzmachine.
Some broadsheet journalists used to be treated as high priests talking from the pulpit, but no more. A gust of online democracy – messy, creative, collaborative, rowdy, disrespecful, well-informed, insightful and fast – has burst in, and it’s not stopping. Facilitated by broadband, spurred on by mobile companies, the battle is about organising all the information that is available.
It’s time for companies to bring down the firewalls and get involved with these new technologies, internally and externally. Now it’s a very different game. It doesn’t matter which school you went to, it’s about the quality of your ideas and insights, the influence you carry online and the attention you are gaining. The audience is no longer passive. They were once glued to their seats watching the action passively unfold in front of them. Now they are on centre stage: online reality, it’s 24/7 and it’s fast.
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