Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why Doesn't Print Media Move With The Audience?

It seems to me that the bulk of people who would have subscribed to newspapers and various magazines don't any longer because it's easier to find stuff on-line. So, why don't they write like they know that? Why recycle an A.P. story? We can find the story; we can find commentary, what we are unlikely to find is well researched pieces that help us fill in the background.
Most of the health and fitness magazines appear to re-run the same old articles over and over again. They over-emphasize exercise and supplements, and make those same old egregious low-fat diet recommendations. Architecture and housing related magazines also seem stuck, trying to communicate to us what they think is trendy. And Wired looks downright schizophrenic- the last time I read the thing, I began to wonder who, exactly, are there target audience? Extremely gullible effete men with a lot of spare cash and short attention spans?
Anyway, it seems to me most of mainstream media pretends the internet just doesn't exist; meanwhile the strongest potential customer base is already compulsively reading the stories they'll print a week later. It's pointless to read mainstream commentary as well, we've got thousands of bloggers, some of whom can do it better. A media organization has one edge; they can put someone on a story full time and they can spend resources necessary to add the depth and context to the stories we already know about. Admittedly this a sophisticated play, and a dangerous one if the institution is wedded to ideology (I'm thinking of the travesties of Time and Newsweek), but if they don't appeal to us info-junkies, who will they appeal to?
The number of people who are into current events but don't use the internet must be miniscule now and rapidly shrinking.

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