Print media? Lol. No Thanks.
At this point, I get 100% of my information off my Samsung Vibrant. Whether it’s an RSS feed, application off the Android Market or headline shared on a social networking site, I’m constantly being sent links to stories containing up to the minute news.
What this means for me as a consumer is that instead of subscribing to a newspaper and having the issues delivered to my house by a 7th grader riding a bicycle every morning, I just follow the newspaper on Twitter and add their RSS feed to my Google Reader. People no longer have to decide what newspaper to subscribe to because now we can subscribe to them all.
“You don’t run into people anymore who say ‘Oh I get all my news from that TV Show or Newspaper.’ I think that the people that are still putting too much into their legacy products are making a foolish mistake, ” said Tracy Record, editor of West Seattle Blog.
(correction made 2.27)
After spending a career working with newspapers, radio and television, Record worked as executive producer of ABCNEWS.com. The site was owned and operated by a company that would eventually become the Walt Disney Internet Group. Seattle was a popular spot for companies looking for on online presence during the dot com boom of the 1990’s thanks in large part to Paul Allen’s website and software company, Starwave.
“When it all started the companies could have cared less about websites,” she said. “It’s gone from a point where it was a sideline product and now we’ve obviously gotten to the point where it is the dominant product. Whether people realized it or not.”
The expectation for a digitally savvy and successful news company is to have up to the minute news feeds available online, blogs that compliment the newspaper and also a presence within social networking cites.
“Some companies do a great job…but there still has to be this print piece that expects a lot of money.” She continue, “And they’ll say that’s where most of the revenue comes from so they have to keep producing it, but all that’s doing is keeping print companies from realizing that they should find more creative ways to generate more digital revenue.”
Record started the West Seattle Blog as a place to post information about happenings in the area. She kept the site updated regularly and had developed a small following. The site got a huge momentum boost when a windstorm in 2006 left people searching for a reliable source for updated information.
“There was so little information available about why everyone had lost their power and weren’t getting it back for days,” she said. “People were writing us and asking ‘Do you guys know anything about the power outage? I can’t find anything on the TV stations or the newspapers.’ So we kind of said, ‘Well, I guess we can try to see what we can find out.'”
Being able to provide the information people were looking for in a timely fashion helped create enough momentum for the site that in 2007 she was able to leave her job and use her blog as employment.
The blog being a collaborative effort is a huge part of its success. Leads and stories are sent to Record, who writes a conversational piece about them, posts them on the site and the audience is able to continue the story by leaving comments…