What’s news with you?
Paper, glass, or plastic — how do you like your news delivered? Are you traditional and tactile, with newsprint-stained fingertips and a fondness for the weekend paper? Do you still tune in regularly to TV news programs and all-news stations? Do you own a radio? How about your iPod, BlackBerry or Kindle – if someone snuck a peek at your news apps and downloads, what would they say about you? Chances are, you’re a “blended” news consumer who likes a little of everything.
What we consider to be news is changing, too, thus dictating what we consume, in what format we consume it, and who we trust as its source. By its simplest definition, news must be current and it must mean something to people, so it makes perfect sense that one man’s tweet might be another man’s front page. The filters through which news must be passed in order to be credible have all but dissolved in a social media world, and the heated debate over the future of journalism rages on. In 2010, we’ll closely monitor whether mainstream media and participatory journalism can coexist, and if journalism can survive even if newspapers do not.
Our habits for getting news fixes and sharing what we like with others have changed dramatically over the past couple of years. And that pace is quickening. For some, RSS feeds are so 2008, and TweetDeck is where it’s at. But, for others, that glossy, ad-laden, two-pound magazine still pairs well with a double-espresso. In our on-demand world of news and information, we can almost always get what we want, dictate when and how we want it, and rarely do we have to wait. The demand for customized news and information and the power of “I want” will continue to push news creators, producers, and distributors to new levels of innovation and content interactivity. It might also determine the limits of what kinds of content consumers will pay for.
For example, last month, media giant Conde Nast introduced the GQ app, offering a full replica of a single issue of the monthly men’s magazine. Glossy pictures, feature articles, cool ads, and Tom Brady – what could be better? (I downloaded this for, ahem, “research purposes.”) A closer look shows the reader what’s really amazing about the digital version of this well-known print publication: Selected ads are interactive, pulling you directly to a product site. Or, a digitized feature story on Clint Eastwood is enhanced with photos not in print and includes a link to his new film, Invictus. Fun stuff, indeed.