I wrote a few things about the WeMedia conference yesterday. Pondering them a bit more during my drive from Miami I wanted to post a follow-up. During the opening session on community there was a bit of soul-searching on the part of the traditional media. They know that the future for them is ‘local’ and ‘community’ and ‘conversation’ but do they really know how to do that?
When I deal with any media client that wants to ‘embrace’ social media and become more community oriented I always ask the same thing, “Do you know the names of your readers?” I know the answer to this before I ask it, but it’s more of an exercise. Compare this to many individuals that run hyperlocal blogs, they know the names of their readers. They have a community.
One aspect of community is cooperation. During the community panel Jan Schaffer from J-Lab said she wanted to see more cooperation between traditional media on citizen’s media. To paraphrase what she said, ‘why is it that when a local paper looks at a new hyperlocal blog they say, “we need to do that to” and starts to compete, why not work together?’
Many times ‘competition’ in media is based upon ad sales. However many hyperlocal blogs don’t accept advertising. The hyperlocal blogger isn’t in it for money, they’re just trying to provide the community information and discussion.

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3 Responses to Traditional Media, Do You Know the Names of Your Readers/Viewers?

  1. InThaBiz says:

    I work for a paper in Florida that is struggling with social media. There are few bloggers in this area (or DMA for those who know what that is) which gives us the advantage of cultivating local voices within our own branding.
    However, one of the biggest problems I see right now is the desire to get in the game with minimal investment.
    The first thing you’re told when you begin working at any paper is that the newspaper industry is struggling, but we’re doing some exciting things that we think will turn that around. If you’re a little more aware of what’s happening with technology outside of the newspaper though, you see an industry struggling for identity and too frightened fiscally to invest in any new technology or think outside the proverbial box about what new services we could offer our clients (readers).

  2. Jim Johnson says:

    I’m sure Josh could tell InThaBiz that there are a number of inexpensive ways to start reaching out to readers. One way is to bring them into the fold. Since most hyperlocal bloggers are doing it as an avocation, not a vocation, why not spur them along… build a partnership with them. Let them serve as freelance writers by taking their posts and reprinting them (with permission of course). Have your reporters offer to post on their blogs, rather than creating their own blogs on the official site.
    Just some ideas off the top of my head this morning. Being outside the box doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money to get there.

  3. Fritz says:

    Some of the attempts I’ve seen of traditional media trying to get into the social media thing have been kind of weak. On the other hand, I love reading articles by blogging journalists — they’re more “human” and the blogs provide a creative outlet that they might not otherwise have for the normal bylined stories.

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