Monday, March 15, 2010

NEW AND TRADITIONAL: BOTH, PLEASE

IT’S intriguing looking at and digesting discussions about the future of the print media when new/social/digital media is flourishing and exciting.

From the age of about twelve, all I ever wanted to be was a newspaper reporter and that was my job continuously for almost 30 years, even though the loathsome crook, Robert Maxwell did make me swither for a while.

In the most recent past I’ve been running my own PR business and a fair bit of time involves dealing with newspaper and magazine journalists, plus the broadcast side of the business.

Never a day goes by when I don’t read a couple of newspapers, although nowadays, my first scan of the morning news is either on the radio, TV or online. That I read a newspaper maybe later in the morning doesn’t bother me: it’s a natural merging of new ways to get up-to-date news and the traditional. During the MPs’ expenses scandal, I have to say I devoured the story in the Daily Telegraph and got more from its coverage that any other news outlet. Of course, I greedily scoured online sources for updates and latest revelations as well.

I’m embracing social/digital media because I definitely recognise its merits, not least its speed and ability to reach huge audiences, which is a bonus for a PR practitioner. Getting my head round some of the possibilities has taken worthwhile time and effort, but it is hugely interesting, if daunting as well.

I like newspapers, magazines and books to read at the breakfast table, in a coffee shop, on a train or plane journey. In bed, too, but I usually only manage a couple of pages before I crash out – so a book lasts me ages.

For those reasons, I don’t think newspapers etc will become extinct, blown away by the social media whirlwind as there are plenty of readers who think like me.

So it was heartening to read today the view of Brian McNair, Professor of Journalism & Communication at the University of Strathclyde, particularly when he wrote about reading “in the kitchen at breakfast, in bed at night and in the bath, books are organic and unobtrusive. Much easier to use than the lightest laptop, and much less bother.”

And he continued: “I could go on about the pleasures of print, but I don’t want to pretend that I don’t love online technology too. With the Internet I can do things that print never allowed. It is, without doubt, the biggest leap in communication technology since the invention of print.”

You can read Brian’s full article on the allmediascotland.com website here http://www.allmediascotland.com/press_news/24880/the-allure-of-print-brian-mcnair-writes

I share his views and I admire many individuals, such as Craig McGill www.contently-managed.com who are storming into the social media world with great gusto allied to a fearsome determination to make sense and purpose out of it all.

I’m a mild-mannered guy and I reckon there’s a place for both the new media in all its forms and, hopefully, a re-vitalised traditional newspaper scene.