Re-Start the Presses?



Fall Forward

The Monocle Weekly Podcast came back Sunday August 30,2009 after a relaxing summer hiatus during which the Summer Series took over and listeners were treated to live music from around the world and fairly lighthearted chats. Places included Japan, Sweden, even Canada. For those already pining for summer I would highly reccomend you check these out, I guarantee you’ll not run out of things to download for a while.

But other than learning that Bryan Adams sounds pretty current when he goes accoustic, the podcasts were kept fairly light on brain stimulation. That’s why I’m glad the Weekly is back. And this week, with fall looming, there seemed to be a focus on change. Will the new Prime Minister of Japan get the country back on track? Do the Spanish need to curb vacation time? Is there hope for newspapers?

The Scoop

There’s been much discussion, mostly negative, about the future of newspapers. Rupert Murdoch’s decision to start charging for online content again seemed nuts to me. The public tends to hate Indian givers.

Personally, I haven’t felt any loss of insight or overpowering desire to subscribe when a digital bouncer keeps me from a neat article. There’s simply too much content other content online demanding my attention. It’d be like going to a magazine rack and finding some of the neat ones wrapped in cellophane. You may flip through the pile to see if somebody had ‘accidentally’ opened one for you, but if you’re just a browser killing time, you’d likely move onto another mag or paper with a similar headline.

Perhaps most idiotic is the Associated Press’s attempt to block people from linking their stuff without permission.

Is it any wonder then, why such heavy-handed tactics just don’t seem to work?

To get somebody to pay attention, you have to be worth paying attention to

Resident media expert Mario Garcia remembers when many papers were run by intellectuals, who disdained pop culture and vilified advertising. Such people, Garcia says, don’t belong in the news business. Now moreso than ever, we see this as the case.

Editors who refuse to watch TV or go on Twitter must realize that the public isn’t out of touch with what’s going on, they are. I believe the solution is to provide a little sugar with the medicine; cover, even analyze, what most people are interested in along with what most people should be interested in.

This is a lesson great advertisers have known all along. If you want people to listen to your client, you’ve got to get them listening first. To get them to listen, you must entertain. For the press, this doesn’t have to mean ‘knock off the Daily Mail’, although it does mean reconsidering the traditional focus the news has on disposable facts in a Twitter world.

I’m not trying to step on journalists’ toes, and I’m sure they know more and have higher ideas and pursue a nobler profession than myself. I’m also pretty sure newspapers have yet to become completely obsolete. If anything they’re likely to become more relevant, interesting and readable. They don’t have much choice.


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