Time to get used to digital media

By March 15, 2013New Media

You might have heard about the media giant Time Warner’s recent break-up with TIME Inc., publisher of the scarlet-lettered staple of grocery store aisles across America.  It’s likely that TIME magazine, which has been hemorrhaging advertising money, will go the way of Newsweek, which announced last fall that it is discontinuing its print publication for a digital-only platform.

In the New York Times, Maureen Dowd has some well-chosen words for everybody who is shaken up by the news: get over it.  And I agree.   Toning the death knell of print as our society migrates to digital media is fast becoming cliché.  Rather than thoughtlessly repeating what we stand to lose from this transition (much of which is overstated), let’s start thinking about how we can make sure we do it the right way.  Luckily, Dowd’s article provoked a discussion with some excellent ideas.

For instance, Meredith from New York makes a wise point about one key difference between print and digital media: “Web sites must constantly update news–now people are waiting for updates with their mobile devices. This all changes the news itself.”  For one thing, it makes sensationalism, or whatever has the best chance of going viral, more profitable, often at the expense of journalistic due diligence.  But there are signs that we’re beginning to face these risks in a sensible way.  Look at the emergence of the “fact-checker” in 2012 as a new institution of our political landscape.  Meredith goes on with some other wise recommendations:  “The corrections page should become more prominent, so people will look for it, not pass it by. We need weekly journalism in any format to give some distance and context for the minute by minute noise.”

These changes can become reality if we demand them.  Reward coverage that matters to you with a digital subscription, or become a member of your local public media station.  Comment on articles that you find interesting–or dubious–and engage their writers over Twitter: one upside to the digital age is it’s easier to do this than ever before.  As digital media become more prevalent, media in general is becoming more collaborative.  So don’t be shy–speak up!  Not to put any pressure on you or anything…