Newspapers and Social Media – Parallel Media?

by

Old Man Reading a newspaper

Saturday morning and I’ve just read through the newspaper, The Irish Examiner, which we have delivered with the milk on a Saturday!

From the age of 13 till 21 I delivered enough of them when I had my own newspaper round ..

To be honest I often never get to read it. I pop it on the kitchen table, with every intention of having a peep at it later and often this never happens and it stays there unread.

Today I read it cover to cover including the supplements and it really showed me what I am missing, why we need newspapers so badly, even in a world where we can get news instantly via our social media channels.

I’m a self confessed lover of Twitter and I tell people at my social media courses and our clients how powerful the platform is – even if you never decide to tweet you can follow your favourite newspapers, radio stations, journalists, celebrities, sports stars, friends and other interesting folk.

Fire it up anytime and you will see a constant stream of updates from everyone you are following. You can use the powerful “search” function and track anyone that is tweeting about a subject.

That sounds pretty incredible – it is.

Why would you bother with a newspaper?

Reading the paper today it showed me some really valuable things that Twitter or any of the other social media platform could not bring me:

Emphasis – The editor and the team will decide the stories that are bigger and the ones that are smaller, those that deserve more space and the ones that deserve to be closer to the front of the paper. Twitter will be delivered to me in messages of 140 characters or less, regardless of how important each tweet is. The skill involved in organising and prioritising all of this is so valuable.

Organisation – The newspaper is organised into a particular sequence, which makes it really easy to find the topics that you are interested in. I can organise the twitter accounts I am following into subject matter lists but this still misses the skill delivered by the newspaper team.

Investigation – We badly need teams of journalists who will investigate topics of interest. We need teams of journalists with a great “nose” investigating issues that may not yet be of interest but they have an instinct that something is wrong. Social media definitely helps with all of us having a voice to highlight issues that we feel are important – we need great journalists using their skills to pick up on these.

News – With so much information hitting us via all the various channels it is really important to pick up the newspaper and glance through all of those headlines so that we don’t miss the “important news”. I learnt a lot today quickly by flicking through the paper.

New Stuff – Reading through the paper today I discovered bucket loads of really interesting “stuff” that I would never have stumbled upon. I wouldn’t have been looking for it online so I would not have found it. The team at the newspaper carefully pick through the world of information, new books and new music and deliver what they feel will be of interest to their readers. I also discover new things every day via social media that is equally of interest.

Skill – We need the skills of the journalists, the writers and the editors to deliver us news and stories in a way that grabs our attention and engages with us. We would be lost without these skills.

Look and Feel – While I love my technology and my gadgetry, my iPhone and my iPad there is something very special about the printed material, the paper, the pictures and the layouts. It’s an enjoyable experience to pick up a newspaper with a cuppa and digest all the news and information that’s on offer. Using an App like Flipboard on the iPad to flick through news and information is convenient and enjoyable but it can’t replace the newspaper experience.

While many feel new media will replace traditional media I’m not that sure – both are valuable in quite different ways and we will benefit from both, we need both.

It’s not either or ..it’s Parallel Media.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer social media training and consultancy from our offices in Cork and Dublin

Tags: , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Newspapers and Social Media – Parallel Media?”

  1. Keith Watterson Says:

    That’s a really interesting post, Greg. One of the best debates that I’ve come across on this whole issue is from the MIT Communications Forum, on the subject of ‘Why newspapers matter’. Although it’s exhaustive, the full workshop is well worth a look on http://videolectures.net/mitworld_armstrong_boczkowski_boczkowski_newspaper/
    Of particular interest is the contribution of Dante Chinni towards the end of the video. He makes the point that in an environment where we have all become news omnivores, that the strength of a newspaper lies in its “collective knowledge”.
    Assessing traditional newspapers versus the blogosphere, he states: “I think that blogs largely feed off what’s out there. They take the news that’s out there, they tell you it, they maybe poke holes in it, maybe it’s another set of eyes that has a problem with what’s out there, but the story is already out there. The blogs are not very good at breaking something. They’re not going to break news, because bloggers aren’t going to be walking around the Justice Department for free. They’re not going to say, well, I’m just going to give up what I do, and go over and stand at the Department of Interior for a while and see what I pick up and then write my blog. Because nobody’s going to read that. It’s only interesting when something happens at the Department of the Interior, to know what’s going on you have to have somebody there to figure it out.”
    Of course, as he also stresses, the big challenge for the profession is to devise a business model that will provide newspapers with the funding required to pay journalists who are able to break the stories…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: