I love to rip on sportswriters who ask the same questions each and every year, with only the names, records and teams changes to protect the bored.
Why ? Because journalism matters. Every game is its own ecosystem (welcome to the new tech buzzword inserted here to make you say.. huh ?). It takes on a life of its own, with strategy, personalities, sub plots. The best we get in questions is “what happened coach ?” or prompts that the reporter hopes will result in someone getting in trouble “What did you think of the refs ?” No depth.
I realize its not really the reporters fault. Its the result of newsenomics. Or to paraphrase the masthead of a once great, now decent newspaper, “all the news we can now afford to find and print”.
Of course thats a shame, but it also is missing the opportunity of a lifetime.
The perception from traditional media seems to be that “media savvy youth of today” dont read , or need newspapers. They dont need the traditional 6pm news. They dont need news networks.
Thats true, they dont need them. They do want them however.
The problem is that they want them packaged to their liking – with a payoff.
Thats what media is missing with kids today. Its not the medium that acts as the circulation prevention team, its the lack of payoff and packaging.
Howard Stern has absolutely no problem discussing everything and anything happening in the world today. None. His listeners are without question better educated about the role of the FCC along with any number of important relevant issues happening today, than viewers of the CBS Evening News. Kids and adults will listen to Howard. Why ? With Howard, you get a payoff. You know if there is an angle to be exploited to find the humor, irony or hypocrisy, he will find it.
Remember when “Mike Wallace with 60 Minutes” used to strike fear in the hearts of evil doers across the world ? And viewers of 60 minutes loved it. Why ? Because we knew there was always a payoff coming. Anyone fit that role anymore ?
ABC hired Charles Gibson. Why ? Because he represents what ? Tonights stories on ABC all feature a talking head showing a picture , then talking some more , describing the picture.
A simple question. What is it that a viewer can get on world news tonight that couldnt be found on any Yahoo /Google?Yourfave newsite ? Where is the payoff ? Where is the journalism ?
Want to get younger viewers ? Go out and hire the very best recent college journalism graduates you can find. Give them a camera, a computer and an area of specialty; Business, local politics, national politics, whatever. Better yet, ask them what they think matters. Enable them to be the new “mike wallace and 60 minutes” . Tell them their only requirement is that they are equal parts journalist and adrenalin junkies. Focused on fearlessly finding the truth behind stories that matter to them, their families and friends. Guess what, even for a 21 year old, its not just about Paris Hilton, Bradgelina and the latest Rap feud.
Kids want to learn. They want to know.
But they arent going to turn in unless there is a payoff.
Does anyone in mainstream media honestly believe user generated content stops with parodies of Lazy Sunday ? Troll through myspace. Its not only for personal branding. (yes, thats what Myspace is all about. Personal Branding. MySpace = your indvidual CSS. You are what you post on your myspace page). Do a search on haditha, timor, any topic you can find in the news, and there are hundreds with an opinion about it on myspace, the other social networks and of course personal blogs like this.
Which leads to the question. Who will amass a material audience first. Young, energetic journalism graduates who post about the topics they care about on their own sites, or the main stream media.
The race is on. Unless of course you hire the people that can provide the payoff that people of all ages want.
I just hired a young, award winning journalist to partner with me on a blog that will do nothing but try to uncover corporate fraud. Young, energetic, fired up and damn the stuff i have seen so far is good. Will the payoff be about accounting gone bad ? Will it be a Skilling and Lay standing in front of the mike picture with accompanying text ? No chance.
If we found the enron scam, I would push to tell the story with a flash animation parody of Skilling and Lay to Shaggies “It wasnt me” along side a Bethany McLean/Peter Elkind quality story. Just as the movie “Enron The Smartest Guys in the Room ” told the story in a detailed and entertaining way, our goal will be to do the same.
Business is an easy place for me to start because the fraud and sithlord wannabes uncovered can not only create great stories of interest for the webite and HDNet World Report, but also allow me to buy and the sell the stocks of the company. A journalistic conflict you say ? Not any more. Not in this world. It will be fully disclosed and explained. This site is for the profit of its owners and we will buy and sell stocks that are discussed, before they are made available on the site. So make any decisions based on this information accordingly.
Facts are facts. Right is its own defense. If we can uncover companies whose stock is public and that can be bought or sold and that allows us to pay for more in depth research and effort. Im good with that.
HDNet news is also working on hiring the young and the restless to go out and produce stories that matter. Stories that have a payoff. Will we package them to reach a young audience ? Nope. HDNet isnt trolling to reduce the average age of our viewers. We dont care how old they are. We will produce news reports that matter to people of all ages. Our show Deadline is a nice little test with short , unique, irreverant stories coming from 30 plus stringers worldwide.
Journalism Matters. Im hoping the growing ignorance of this fact will make the news component of HDNet stronger and stronger and help us grow as a network
If you are a journalism major that can uncover stories others cant find and tell them in a way that others want to read. Send me an email with samples.