There’s no doubt that media is in a time of change. Magazines and newspapers are hard pressed to save money, journalists are let go, there’s restructoring, and so on. All of this isn’t because of the financial crisis, but it sure speeds things up. So where do we turn for information about these things? To the blogosphere, of course, because that’s where we can read about the people that were let go, without having to filter out everything the hidden agenda of the so called old media. They are partial, you know. Of course, so is a disgruntled journo just sacked from his newspaper, but at least we expect him to be pissed.
Enter a group of anonymous people that tweet about who’s fired, who’s in trouble, and who stays. The Media is Dying Twitter account is a phenomenom, an excellent source for anxious and curious journalists and media enthusiasts altogether. And there’s plenty of them, the account’s got over 9,000 followers. The mysterious media professionals were kind enough to participate in an interview.
I’m sure people are wondering who’s behind The Media is Dying Twitter account. What can you tell us about yourselves?
We’re best described as a collection of concerned pr professionals who are trying to help in a bad situation. We come from a variety of backgrounds and are a 8 or-so mix of agency people and in-house people. We started the free service on the November 19th and it’s been incredibly successful ever since. There is a big misconception out there about us with people saying we like reporting bad news which couldn’t be further from the truth. We welcome all good news and hope one day the service won’t be needed.
Why are you doing this?
Originally it was protected for just for a small group of pros but word spread and more and more people asked to added so we opened it up. This makes sense because Twitter is really about sharing and spreading information quickly. We’ve even been nominated for a Shorty Award (Twitter Oscars) that we’d like to win (vote here!)
How come you went with Twitter, wouldn’t a full-sized blog be better suited?
We really thought long and hard about what would work and since we aren’t editorializing or offering commentary on the events we felt the 140 characters would suit the “news” pretty well. It would however be easy to advertise through – that’s one thing we’re interested in pursuing if it doesn’t affect the feed/flow. We’ve been astounded how word spread to the 9,000+ followers. We’re grateful for every tip/forwarded memo – without the tipsters there would be fewer tweets for sure.
What is your take on media today? Is the old media doomed, where does blogs fit in, and what will be the trends of 2009?
Old media is not doomed but it certainly is changing, and fast. There will always be news outlets and big names but in 3-5 years they won’t look the same a they do now. Sure, there will always be people who want to read/touch “the paper” but as big news corporations are finding new generations are growing up with a myriad of technologies and options to get their news. The problem is fixed costs – newspapers have a lot and new media has very few. Fair or unfair, it’s changing and people need to keep up. 2009? Social media will continue to thrive and evolve so people get their news faster, easier and more personalized than ever before. Open Social and OpenID etc. Twitter will find a business model and will figure out a way to make all stakeholders happy. We also think video creation may go down because of the costs involved but this may lead to more “citizen journalism” coming to the forefront. We also expect to see a couple of large purchases happening in 2009 along with big cuts cross the board – we’re seeing these already but we fear some will be too little many more outlets/beats will go under.
And what’s in store for you in 2009? Any ideas on how to expand and/or evolve the service?
2009 looks set to be a lot more of the same (we did some research and people don’t want to see much changing!) and some new things – we have over 9,000 followers and have been approached by people to help them with projects such as recruitment etc – there’s also talk of creating spinoff for Europe and we’re looking for people to start that with us.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.