Content and Its Discontents

For years, we in traditional media have consoled ourselves about the increasing irrelevance of our work. First, we insist that content is king. If a story, image, film or report is compelling enough — a candid photo of Malia Obama, “Slumdog Millionaire,” the columns of Maureen Dowd — it will translate into pixels. It will flourish on any platform, dominate every sport. By this logic, creators, producers, artists and journalists should attend only ... Full Story »

Posted by Fabrice Florin
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Posted by: Posted by Fabrice Florin - Dec 9, 2008 - 1:05 AM PST
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Edited by: Fabrice Florin - Dec 9, 2008 - 1:05 AM PST
Dan Kennedy
2.7
by Dan Kennedy - Dec. 9, 2008

No new form of media has ever entirely replaced the old. Radio did not kill newspapers. Television did not kill radio. And the Internet will not kill print, even though print will change — is changing — in profound ways. Not only is Heffernan overly pessimistic, she also does not tell us what the dystopia she envisions might look like.

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Fabrice Florin
3.9
by Fabrice Florin - Dec. 9, 2008

Eye-opening essay on how new media are requiring authors to create new content forms to match radically different user experiences. The author argues thoughtfully that traditional content types like news reports and soap operas do not play well on new digital modes of distribution like Twitter, Facebook or mobile phones, which are begging for completely novel forms of expression. Well reasoned, insightful and increasingly relevant. Be sure to check the suggested 'test and learn' links at the end of the article.

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Kaizar Campwala
3.3
by Kaizar Campwala - Dec. 9, 2008

If taken at a macro level, this piece delivers good, if obvious advice. Think outside the box. However, considered from the specific angle of fourth estate journalism, it leaves me scratching my head. Have muckraking reports paid for and reported on the GM website?

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Patricia L'Herrou
4.1
by Patricia L'Herrou - Dec. 9, 2008

this phrase which seems relevant here yet may be simply antiquarian quality,, "the more things change......" . and , as marshall mccluhan said, " the medium is the message." . what's being described in this piece might seem from his perspective both hot and cold., yet is still a reality that not everyone in the country is as aware of as the writer is. change is slow, but the writer gives examples of how old media too,is changing more subtly, to bridge the divide between old and new, young and old. her focus is on news dissemination not on what and how change of this magnitude will effect, our future and its decision-makers. as she doesn't ,perhaps respectfully, mention directly, the relevance of age.

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Michael Bugeja
4.0
by Michael Bugeja - Dec. 9, 2008

This story gets most of the picture right, essentially noting that traditional journalists (including magazine writers) will have to adapt to the platform or attract a small but craft-oriented audience. This is well worth the read. But it contains a fatal error: for all its innovative thinking, it left out advertising and how that impacts the platform, both in monetizing it as well as living up to Fourth Estate standards. The Internet and other digital innovations are programmed for revenue generation in a model that gives away information for free, especially timely information, and vends information about information that updates and sells more than once. (It is not coincidental that Fabrice Florin, one of the most ... More »

This will be a longer review for those truly interested in this topic, which I have researched since 1999 and prophesied in such publications as The Futurist, The Ecologist, Editor & Publisher, Quill, and Neiman Watchdog as well as two Oxford Univ. Press media and technology books.

Then they should think about what content suits these new modes of distribution and could evolve in tandem with them. For old-media types, mental flexibility could be the ... More »

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Subramanya Sastry
2.9
by Subramanya Sastry - Dec. 9, 2008

The arguments are not very well supported -- actually I am not even sure what the argument is. While distribution mediums affects the content that is suitable for that medium, that to me is an argument to use different distribution mediums to draw attention to the same content in different ways. Unless we all are going to stop wanting to read investigative reports, news reports, analyses, content still holds a lot of punch. So yes, new distribution mechanisms need to be leveraged, and they change the content mix (from pure text forms to mixed media forms, for example) and they change business models, but, I don't see how they relegate existing content forms to obscurity. So, you won't read 6-part investigative series on ... More »

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Adam Florin
3.0
by Adam Florin - Dec. 9, 2008

Due-diligence traditional journalist hand-wringing about new media. The example from Self magazine is funny, though.

The transition from midcentury-format magazines to web media is actually going pretty smoothly, I'd say.

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