How do advertisers do better in honing in on their audiences in order to provide financial support to news outlets and, in return, see the viewer numbers they desire?
A few students in this class have lived firsthand through the changes in media economics. Others of you have not.
1. To complete your post for this week, please do the following:
a. If you are someone in the media industry, then tell your story about how you have been affected by the economics of the media industry.
b. If you are not in the industry, then think about this Washington Post piece from January 2019.
2. The rest of the conversation can be a back-and-forth between you about the experiences of those of you in the media industry. In a typical in-person class, this is what happens as folks with recent media experience tell their stories. I’d like to see this in the context of the Meyer reading (And, appropos of nothing, I wanted to give you background on the Phil Meyer reading: He’s a longtime print journalist, an inventor of “computer-assisted reporting,” and professor emeritus at UNC-Chapel Hill. He taught me stats in 1997 at a bootcamp.) He put off retirement to write the Vanishing Newspaper book of which you read a few chapters. He saw what was coming and hoped his work would lead to a softer landing — and a way for news folks to think more about the bottom line. In that way, his book might be considered a “failure,” although it’s not his fault.)
Here is example from one of my classmates of what the discussion post should look like. I am in the media. I have not been impacted by the economics of the media industry. The only challenges I have faced is not having enough staff at our news station. Also if you can make the connection with one of our required readings that I have attached to this email that would be great.
I was affected twice during my time in broadcast media. The first was the consolidation of radio stations. Several people, including myself, were squeezed out of our jobs because a new company bought us out and decided it would be cheaper to voice track on-air talent via satellite and internet. It took away the local community feel of the stations, which (along with streaming/digital music players) resulted in the stations eventually being sold back to a local owner due to lower ratings and ad revenue.
The second time was my old television station decided to cut costs and let the majority of our videographers go. We were turned into one-man-band/MMJ reporters. I was trained in college to do both jobs, so I didn’t have a problem adapting. However, some of my coworkers were not used to shooting their own material. Overall, this is not an ideal practice as recently witnessed when a reporter was shooting her own live shot and hit by a car. She didn’t have another person to help look out for potential dangers. I hope that was a signal to station owners that not only will it look better to have separate videographers, but it will be safer for reporters.
That same television station was bought out and grouped together with other stations around the state, and a few reporters lost their jobs as the corporate owner moved to a more regional partnership and feel. As in the case with the radio stations, they lost some of their local feel.
Meyer brings up a thought concerning newspaper readership, and perhaps it can be related back to declining broadcast media revenue. He states that “generational replacement” is at play as younger audiences don’t keep up the same reading habits that older people do (Meyer, 2009, p. 17). As technology improves and attention spans shrink, viewing habits aren’t the same. My own viewing habits are different, too, but people younger than me have had many more programming and information choices than what I did when I was a kid. In the age of ad blockers and the ability to gather quick snippets of news from social media, etc., how do advertisers do better in honing in on their audiences in order to provide financial support to news outlets and, in return, see the viewer numbers they desire?
Meyer, P. (2009). The Influence Model. In The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age (2nd ed., pp. 4–46). essay, University of Missouri Press.