Sunday, December 18, 2005

Advice for the news business ...

... from William Powers at the Wilson Quarterly: The Collapse of Big Media: Seven Steps to Salvation.

A point worth pondering:

Herding young viewers and readers into little media ghettos will not win them over. Young people recognize demographic targeting—they grew up with it. Rather than patronize them with endless “youth” sections and segments, why not include young reporters and commentators throughout your pages and broadcasts? In particular, the opinion columns of America’s great newspapers are the Sun Cities of journalism, where older journalists go to live out their golden years. They need fresher perspectives. Meanwhile, because the nightly network newscasts tend to draw an older audience, the networks skew the content toward the interests of the elderly—that’s why we see all those “Your Health” segments about new cures for wrinkles and arthritis, high blood pressure and low libido. Such tactics are driving the young away from everything you do.

And another:

Only disconnect. There’s a widespread sense in the news business that contemporary audiences want their news delivered strictly in quick hits: Nothing too thoughtful or lengthy, thank you very much; who has the time? This may be true at the moment, as consumers try to adjust to the proliferation of news sources. But content that can be downloaded on a cell phone and digested in a moment isn’t very nourishing, and a day will arrive when the public hungers for more. Though this diet of news niblets is initially appetizing, people will inevitably realize that they’d do better to push away from the buzzy grid and seek more substantial nourishment elsewhere. The baby boomers are about to start retiring, and they’re going to have a lot of time on their hands. Tiny news bites won’t fill the hours or satisfy their need.

Of course, the trick is not to write in such a way as what you write seems to read long.

No comments:

Post a Comment