Old Media. New Tricks.

Archive for the ‘ideas’ Category

The CanWest newspapers recently launched redesigns to their web presences.

I saw this two page ad in The Province on the weekend explaining their new look.


If it takes you TWO full pages complete with boxes, diagrams and pointers to explain your website redesign to people, it’s TOO complicated.

Google’s website has 28 words

I’m not saying your site needs to be that brief, but using Google’s site design and approach as a starting point is a good place to begin your planning.

Laying out a double page gatefold to explain your website redesign is perhaps the last place you’d like to find yourself.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

It’s called social media, because it’s about being social.  You don’t broadcast your message anymore, you share it.

If you’re a newspaper, you move to the web.  If you’re a radio station, you add video.  If you’re a television station, you had blogs.  You become multi-dimensional and engage your audience in participatory media.

Gary Vaynerchuk nails it.

Comme toujours.

catch the buzz … pass it on

Old media talks down to its audience.  New media engages its audience.

Do you recognize how vastly different those two sentences are? Those two simple sentences hold all the answers to all the problems old media, and old companies, have when it comes to new media.  You can’t preach to your consumers, you have to inspire them.

Radio station websites need to not only have the recent chart and concert listings, it needs to have a two way dialogue between host and listener.

Blogs are VITAL for the survival of the radio station brand, but they need to be a two way street.  Just shouting out content at the listeners, without a way for them to interact is like a radio station without a request line.

Whether or not you actually take requests is not the point, the listener needs to feel like they’re engaged in the process and have ownership of the station.  Blogs and the ability to interact with the audience using new media works the same way.

catch the buzz… pass it on.

Let’s build more on the last entry about link love.

Jeff Jarvis is a big proponent of the link economy.

All content must be transparent: open on the web with permanent links so it can receive links. It’s not content until it’s linked.


He’s campaigning for old media to tear down it’s walled garden of content, and participate in the global market of crediting sources, linking to deeper coverage and providing some sort of path for readers to follow a story.

The problem is, old media is very protective of it’s content.  They spend the resources to dig the stories and they don’t want to provide any means for people to leave.

Okay, I “kind of” understand why they would be protective of their content. I think it’s silly, but I “get” why they might think it is prudent behaviour.

The thing I can’t understand, however, is why an old media site wouldn’t want to link within itself.

I subscribe to a few feeds from The Vancouver Sun.  One of them lists news stories they will be following throughout the day and points to links within their site where more information can be found.  I say “points to links” but it doesnt actually activate those links.  Here’s an entry from earlier this week.

See the trailer for one day only at vancouversun.com under Editor’s Picks

[Vancouver Sun]

That is on the VancouverSun.com webpage, but it is merely a word-for-word transcription of what appears in the print edition, complete with lack of active linking.

Kirk Lapointe, Managing Editor of the Vancouver Sun acknowledges they have challenges in moving to the link economy.

“Part of our challenge is the automated nature of our own feeds from our services,” he said in a Twitter message. “We’re asserting more local control in a few weeks.”

Babies roll over before they crawl.  Crawl before they walk.  Walk before they run.

Old media is online.  I guess that would be the equivalent of rolling over.  They still have a long way to go before they’re running with the rest of the pack.

catch the buzz… pass it on.

Traditional media outlets on the web are notorious for not providing link love. They simply post the content from print to the web with no annotation, link or way for readers to learn more or examine the sources. Even articles they write about technology or websites are devoid of links. Sure, they’ll put the address in the article, but the link won’t be active.

They build a fortress around their content. The only links allowed keep visitors within the garden through the nav bar, or take them off to buy soap and shampoo through sponsors. This is no way to build loyalty, trust or respect from your audience.

For more on this concept, check out the post Getting Credit for Word of Mouth.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

Too many media outlets worry about monetizing their content instead of looking at it as a marketing tool.

Instead of taking your content creation budget from programming, and trying to recoup it by monetizing the content, take the money from marketing.

Your results will be then measured by the amount of goodwill and brand loyalty and awareness you create, as opposed to the number of clicks you get.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

The New York Times is a newspaper.  Yet on their website, they have video and audio interviews.  They have taken their single media product and turned it into a multimedia web presence.

The radio station I work at, 95 Crave, is doing the same thing today. 

We are live at a mall doing a Madonnathon dance contest for Madonna tickets.  Radio stations do live, on site events all the time.  Usually to a small crowd. However, this event is being streamed online with a camera hooked in to a laptop over Ustream.

Your radio station probably already has a video camera. It already has a laptop.  Ustream is free.

A one dimensional event can become multimedia, and experienced by virtually your entire audience.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

So often I have an idea or thought, but I don’t have the most eloquent way of presenting it.  I try, but I miss sometimes.

Minutes after posting the entry on Social Media and how MSM is mishandling it, I read Seth Godin.  He basically says the same thing, much more directly.

Yelling with gusto used to be the best way to advertise your wares. There was plenty of media and if you had plenty of money, you were set.

Today, of course, yelling doesn’t work so well.

What works is leading. Leading a (relatively) small group of people. Taking them somewhere they’d like to go. Connecting them to one another.

Go down the list of online success stories. The big winners are organizations that give tribes of people a platform to connect.

It’s so tempting to believe that we are merely broadcasters, putting together a play list and hurtling it out to the rest of the world. Louder is better. But we’re not. Now we’re leaders.

People want to connect. They want you to do the connecting.

[Seth Godin]

That better sums up my frustration with many mainstream media forays into twitter, facebook and blogs.  They are just using it as a different type of bullhorn.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

I have already said the iPhone could be radio’s saviour – not it’s killer.  Here’s proof.  Astral Media has a mobile website with the stream of all it’s radio stations easily accessible with a few clicks.

Here’s a video showing how to bookmark the site to your iPhone desktop and access any of the streams.

The mobile web address is http://iphone.7821k.com.

The best part of this feature is it not only enables radio listening on a device that it was previously unavailable (iPods) but it breaks the borders down for radio listeners. No longer do you have to listen to Vancouver radio because you’re in Vancouver. Have a favorite talk show in Ottawa, Calgary or Toronto? Now they’re accessible via the Astral Media MobileWeb.

George Stroumboulopolous‘ show, The Hour, does a great job at taking news stories and not dumbing them down.

It does that by first explaining the story, giving some background and context before going deeper.  You know, getting us all on the same page.

I love this show. It explains all the details of those overly complex international issues in a way that’s easy to follow. Plus it also carries alot of stories that the mainstream won’t. [stumble upon]

Tonight, as I flipped on my local news, the two lead stories were about animals.  A man with a pack of off leash pitbulls, and a new beluga calf at the aquarium.

There is no explanation needed for these stories.  They’re easy to understand, readily consumable and don’t require a lot of thinking.  You have an instant emotional reaction to the story.  There’s nothing to really understand here, we love animals, we’re afraid of mean dogs.  Easy.

Earlier this week Russia invaded Georgia.  I dont know much about the story, yet the news will toss 30 second highlight reels of tanks and bombs towards the end of the news with no explanation, context or basis for understanding.

It became even curiouser when Russia faced off against Georgia on the beach volleyball court at the Beijing Olympics today.

I’m sure we’ll see lots of the bikini coverage before we have any real explanation of why Russia did what it did, why it’s important and what the implications are.

I’m not asking for round tables with talking heads and experts and opinions and talking points, I’d like a 30s breakdown of the facts, sort of what you see on wikipedia.  Why not call it wikimedia?

The Ossetians are a distinct Iranian ethnic group whose origin lies along the Don River. They came to the Caucasus after they were driven out of their homeland by Mongol invasions in the 13th century. Some of them settled in the territory now known as North Ossetia (currently part of Russia), and South Ossetia (currently part of Georgia). [wikipedia]

Sure, wikipedia is not the best source of information, but it can draw a nice thumbnail sketch when you need one.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the local news tried to do that every now and again?

The news, as it is presented right now, is dumbed down, but it can smarten up.  Editors and producers just have to take a second to do some research, explain the facts and set the table.

catch the buzz… pass it on.