Posts Tagged ‘Media’

Research Report: The Participatory News Consumer

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Pew Internet and American Life Project and the Project for Excellence in Journalism released “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer,” on Monday and it has received a ton of attention around the key findings.  Notably, the majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get their daily news, and more than half (59%) are getting news from both online and offline sources on a typical day.

The degree to which Americans are personalizing and filtering this content is especially noteworthy, with highlights collected by MediaBistro including:

  • 33% of cell phone owners now access news on their cell phones.
  • 28% of internet users have customized their home page to include news from sources and on topics that particularly interest them.
  • 37% of internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
  • 51% of social networking site users who are also online news consumers say that on a typical day they get news items from people they follow.
  • 23% of this cohort follow news organizations or individual journalists on social networking sites.

This fits with the recent Cision report (pdf), which showed how media are using social platforms to publish, promote and distribute what they write (64% use blogs, 60% social networks, and 57% Twitter).  Additionally, a full 89% of media are turning to blogs for their online research, making this process truly cyclical.

With 70% of Americans noting that the amount of news and information available from different sources is overwhelming, I think we will see more and more trends pointing to users testing multiple news sources and filtering for perceived noise.  From a PR perspective, this points to the importance of brands telling a cohesive story over multiple platforms, providing a range of consumer touch points, and as always, creating content that is truly valuable for media and consumers.

Is NPR Making a Mistake?

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Staci Kramer over at paidContent pretty much sums it up:

On the internet, any media outlet can overcome its single-dimension status offline. Print outlets can excel in video, local TV stations can add text and stills, radio can get visual. When relaunches overnight, it will add all kinds of features to enhance and extend its audio, including improved search, embedding and transcripts, and more multimedia. But at a time when others are pushing ahead with video, National Public Radio is standing still.

I’ve felt this way about NPR’s approach to video for quite some time.  In April of 2008, I heard a great new band on the now-defunct Bryant Park Project.  They were a new indie rock band called Smoosh.  A big fan of one of the songs they played, I promptly embedded the video into my personal blog after it was available online.  Fast forward to March of this year, when I felt like listening to the song again only to see that the video embed had been disabled.  Now, this isn’t uncommon.  Content providers do this all the time, in fact.  Pageviews are pageviews and revenue is revenue.  I don’t blame them.

However, to me, this is antithetical to NPR’s culture and without the focus on video within this new direction – probably a shot in the foot to a very influential media brand.  They’ve always been scrappy; embracing new technology to spread the word about their great content and programming.  New audiences are using new technologies – embracing that tech helps get content (and subsequently “culture”) in front of new people.  In this case, it worked exactly the way it should for me.  I don’t often listen to the radio, but I heard this segment and was able to share it with my friends.  Quickly and easily.  What’s not to love?

Ben McConnell says it straight:  Word of mouth is a byproduct of a remarkable culture.

Why, then, make the decision to cut-off an integral vehicle in spreading that culture and, consequently, lose out on word of mouth capital?  This is a big issue staring not just media outlets but brands as well, straight in the face.  Content can be expensive to produce but how do you create life-long loyal fans and generate tangible social captial without providing something valuable and interesting upfront?  Ultimately, it has to come from somehwere and you can’t (NPR included) lose sight of the big picture.

What’s more valuable?  Saving money now or building exemplary passion through culture-sharing?  Odds are, the choice to put yourself out there will translate better to an invigorated base of supporters whom can carry you though the rough patches for years to come.  Walking away from video’s “unproven” value when new, vibrant audiences are certainly reachable through it hopefully won’t prove to be a mistake for NPR in years to come.

Making News Valuable Again

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

As PR practitioners, we’re paying close attention to how the media landscape (digital or otherwise) is evolving.  Usually, this is at a very granular level.  How a key magazine or newspaper folding might affect clients we do work for on a daily basis.  However, as an industry evolves, there is always opportunity to look at how it provides value on a daily basis.

In short, I’ve found this really interesting.  Finding out how new tools and technologies are helping change the face of news/journalism/the media and, most importantly, rise above the din.  There are two instances that I’ve come across in the past week that have stuck out a bit more than others.

  • Kudos to NPR for making an automated Twitter account pretty impactful (it almost makes up for the fact that their videos are no longer embeddable but that is an argument I’ll make another day).  Via the Neiman Journalism Lab, they’ve created an experimental account that mines NPR’s archives trying it’s best to deliver contextual news.  This, usually, isn’t breaking stuff – it’s background.  It’s the information that helps us understand why and how current news items are relevant.  How it works:

NPRbackstory uses Google’s Hot Trends data to determine what topics people have suddenly started searching for in large numbers. It uses NPR’s API to search the archives, then uses Yahoo Pipes to create an RSS feed that then gets cycled into the NPRbackstory Twitter account.

The process isn’t perfect but this is a step in the right direction.

I use Twitter because no one can edit me. In a media world driven by an edited sound bite, and a Capitol Hill culture that parses, obfuscates, and works hard at saying nothing, we shouldn’t look down our noses at a few short declarative sentences. While this method of direct communication makes my staff nervous – they think it makes me look less “senatorial” — it is me.  I’m a Midwesterner, and this short simple way of speaking is my native tongue.

I especially enjoy her close.  ”Social media” is about real people, real conversations and our real lives.

Finally, it’s fun. Trust me when I tell you that part of the problem in Washington is that folks there take themselves way too seriously. As I tweet about my college basketball team,  global warming, my kids, reverse mortgages, music, and  tax policy, or as I Tumblr blog about rules of voting on the budget  and my creamed spinach recipe, I’m staying connected, grounded, and I have a smile on my face.

NBC’s Brian Williams Lampoons Digital Media Hype

Friday, December 5th, 2008

This morning’s 3 Minute Ad Age video comes via our colleague of the same name. In it, NBC’s Brian Williams says his peace about the hype of digital media: offering up some pretty solid points about early adopters often looking past the common sense solutions that more traditional media channels provide.

Currently trying to dig-up full video or audio of his remarks, I’d love to know if he presents a fuller argument about how today’s newest digital technology and media channels are actually changing – for the better – how we can consume media and content. Regardless, definitely a worthy watch.

What do you think about his point-of-view?