Category Archives: traditional media

Rule Number One: Be Skeptical

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When we consume information, it helps to be skeptical. It’s a good idea, of course, to be dubious of anything that comes from extremist organizations. Not just their “fake news” but also items that seem plausible.

We should also be skeptical of news and information we receive from the “mainstream media.” Whether it’s a hard news report from Washington or a puff piece in the neighborhood paper, numerous factors determine the content that’s delivered.

Questions worth asking: Is the reporter a friend or nemesis of his/her source? Did the subject of an upbeat item spend ad money on the outlet? Did an editor remove a key element of the piece because somebody took her/him out to dinner? Did a PR person offer an exclusive scoop in exchange for a prominent placement? We can’t know the answers, so everything we read, see and hear should be subject to that healthy skepticism.

No matter the source of information, it’s important to consider that there is no such thing as absolute objectivity. All of us are subject to influences of our upbringing, our schooling, our past and current professional relationships, as well as personal friends and acquaintances.

Mass gullibility is not a new thing. Mistrust of news media is not a new thing. Nor is mistrust of elected officials. (Remember the Maine!)

It’s often necessary to get info from multiple sources in order to obtain the full scope of an issue. The New York Times may play up a certain aspect of global warming, for instance, whereas the Wall Street Journal may try to poke holes in the NYT’s version of facts. The exact truth may lie somewhere between their respective takes.

As a consumer of information, you should be able to know what is being shared as factual information and what is labeled as comment or opinion. Print and online outlets generally do a good job of differentiating. Broadcast and cable outlets sometimes fail to make clear which is which.

In these days of extreme polarization, an open mind can help you get the full picture. Certainly, many individuals will always be steadfast in their beliefs and their prejudices. Some people will believe anything they hear from conservative-leaning outlets and others will put full trust into anything they get from liberal-leaning outlets.

Wherever you receive your information, be it a trusted source or one you view with caution, maintain your healthy skepticism as you determine your own version of the facts. As they used to say on the X-Files, the truth is out there. You just have to find it.

For more on determining the validity of news we receive, you may want to check out these thoughts from NPR Morning Edition anchor Steve Inskeep. Click HERE to link to his article. Even if you perceive NPR to have a particular agenda, you may find his “finder’s guide for facts” useful.

(photo credit: Bruno Meyer Photography; http://www.flickr.com/photos/55293868@N08/31907319405; http://photopin.com; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0)

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New Media Versus Old Media: Both Claim Wins

 

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Old radio set

In July 2013 I posted an article titled Why New Media Are Better Than Old Media. The next week I listed reasons Why Old Media Are Better Than New Media. My point in these back-to-back posts is that both have their strong points.

(Also, I use the word “media” as a plural of “medium,” though I acknowledge that many people refer to “media” as a single entity.)

Here are those lists:

Why New Media Are Better Than Old Media

  1. The internet is open to everyone. No FCC license or printing press necessary.
  2. Net content is available throughout (most of) the world.
  3. Content can be archived on computer drives or accessed via the cloud.
  4. It’s easier to make corrections to web content than to material that’s already been published or transmitted.
  5. Advertising is not as pervasive or obnoxious. Yet.
  6. Content can be more easily targeted to specific groups.
  7. It’s easier to email a file than to send via USPS or FedEx.
  8. It’s quicker to send a text message than to make a call.
  9. Downloading books, movies and music is more convenient and more eco-friendly than purchasing at stores.
  10. Wikipedia and Google provide info that’s more up to date than those volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica and Webster’s dictionary.
  11. Twitter and Facebook serve as community town hall forums for instant sharing of ideas and thoughts on news and events.
  12. Interactivity allows all to participate.
  13. Apps on mobile devices provide immense amounts of entertainment and information.
  14. New media bring continual innovation while old media struggle to keep up.

 

Why Old Media Are Better Than New Media

  1. A framed newspaper article on the wall of your business looks better than a framed printout of the online version.
  2. The Super Bowl looks better on a 50-inch TV screen than it does on a smartphone.
  3. Spill your oatmeal on your morning paper, not a big deal. Spill oatmeal on your iPhone/iPad/MacBook, panic time.
  4. Listening to traffic reports on radio while driving is not as distracting as looking at traffic apps on a smartphone at 60 mph.
  5. Internet connectivity is not so hot on country back roads when compared to the signal strength of a Class C FM station.
  6. A century-old newspaper has more credibility than a ten-year-old news aggregator.
  7. Movie theaters offer an experience that cannot be duplicated at home. And the popcorn is better.
  8. Online death rumors are often hoaxes. Old media are more likely to seek verification.
  9. A segment on local TV morning news is likely to be seen by more eyes than a feature on a popular local blog.
  10. Wikipedia information can be revised and updated by literally anyone. Traditional reference material is vetted by scores of editors.
  11. Neighborhood weekly newspapers provide useful information not easily found elsewhere.
  12. Despite fragmentation, advertisers still reach enormous audiences via TV, radio, newspapers and magazines.
  13. A telephone call allows for speedier dialogues than does a series of text messages or emails.
  14. Even in the era of consolidation, no single entity rules old media like Google dominates new media.

(During Summer 2015 I am revisiting several of my posts from previous years.)

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Pitch Perfect(ly)

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In honor of Pitch Perfect 2, which opens this weekend, I am slipping into my media member persona to list what makes a perfect pitch. Here we go…

  1. Give me something that my viewers/readers/listeners will find compelling. Something new, exciting, happy, sad, timely, nostalgic, fun, heartwarming, heartbreaking, funny.
  2. Give me a fresh, different angle on something my audience and I are already familiar with.
  3. Give me something that’s easy for viewers/readers/listeners to grasp without huge amounts of explanation and background.
  4. Give me the basic info in a paragraph or two or in a few bullet points. (If leaving a voicemail, pitch it in 30 seconds or less.)
  5. If it’s not apparent, tell me why your pitch would be meaningful to my media constituency.
  6. If pitching an interview, give me a person who knows how to answer a question. (Seems obvious, but some people spend two minutes on a yes or no question.)
  7. If pitching an interview, be sure the person you’re pitching is available.
  8. Give me something my boss will be okay with. I may not have to get approval on everything I cover, but I don’t want to hear, “Why’d you do that piece? That was the dumbest, most boring thing I’ve ever heard/seen/read!”
  9. Give me something I can promote.
  10. Give me something that will generate website and social media response.

I’ve scratched my head at some of the goofy, far-fetched pitches I’ve received over the years. I’ve also received many well-conceived, thoughtful items that were just right—pitched perfectly—for my radio shows, websites and social media channels.

An ability to empathize with your media contacts—to consider their needs and wants—can help you craft the perfect pitch.

By the way, the new movie Pitch Perfect 2 is funny and the music is tremendous!

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Time To Be Thankful

Thankfulness

  • I’m thankful for clients who allow me to help get their stories told. Thanks for trusting me with this work.
  • I’m thankful for the new worlds that the digital realm has opened. My professional and personal lives now include elements I could not have imagined 20 years ago.
  • I’m thankful that traditional media, despite challenges, are still around and, in many cases, thriving.
  • I’m thankful that many broadcast and print outlets have been able to successfully employ online channels. I hope more will figure things out soon.
  • I’m thankful for new friends and associates I’ve met in recent years who have freely shared knowledge, advice and opinions.
  • I’m also thankful for old friends whose help has been invaluable.
  • I’m thankful for people I have worked with in the past who have hired me for special projects this year. I am proud of results achieved.
  • I’m thankful for the referrals sent my way in recent years by a variety of individuals. Always appreciated!
  • I’m thankful to be living in an area where life is manageable, resources are available and opportunities continue to arise.
  • I’m thankful for the love and support of family members, including some who are no longer with us.
  • I’m thankful that I am able to savor and appreciate every day of life, even the bad ones.

I wish you a pleasant and peaceful Thanksgiving!

 

(photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aecintx/4094641658/, Ateupamateur via http://photopin.com, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/)

 

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Dead Media? Maybe Not!

In recent months I have been told:

Newspapers are dead. No one reads the newspaper anymore. But I saw tons of posts and shares of that full-page ad by the Red Sox in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Even if most people saw it on Facebook instead of on newsprint, it was considered important enough to generate enormous social love.

Radio is dead. No one listens to radio anymore, only Sirius and Pandora. But it was interesting to note the volume of outrage when Texas governor Rick Perry recently ran ads on St. Louis radio stations inviting businesses to move to Texas.

Television is dead. Everybody gets their video entertainment from Netflix and Youtube. Yep, let’s skip the HD telecast of the Super Bowl on the 52-inch screen and watch the live stream of the game on our iPhones.

The press release is dead. Nobody responds to a press release anymore. Apparently traditional and online media outlets are now learning about events via ESP.

Facebook is dead; all the cool kids are now on Instagram. Also, Twitter is dead; everybody’s on Facebook.

Magazines are dead. Please mention that to the clerk at 7-11 when he puts the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue on sale in a couple of months.

Phone calls are dead. Everybody would rather email or text. If you ever need to summon an ambulance in a hurry, will you text 9-1-1?

Before you exaggerate the rumors of a medium’s or network’s demise, remember that the channels of communication are constantly changing. Ebb and flow happen. Hotness fades. Comebacks occur.

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Why Old Media Are Better Than New Media

  1. A framed newspaper article on the wall of your business looks better than a framed printout of the online version.
  2. The Super Bowl looks better on a 50-inch TV screen than it does on a smartphone.
  3. Spill your oatmeal on your morning paper, not a big deal. Spill oatmeal on your iPhone/iPad/MacBook, panic time.
  4. Listening to traffic reports on radio while driving is not as distracting as looking at traffic apps on a smartphone at 60 mph.
  5. Internet connectivity is not so hot on country back roads when compared to the signal strength of a Class C FM station.
  6. A century-old newspaper has more credibility than a ten-year-old news aggregator.
  7. Movie theaters offer an experience that cannot be duplicated at home. And the popcorn is better.
  8. Online death rumors are often hoaxes. Old media are more likely to seek verification.
  9. A segment on local TV morning news is likely to be seen by more eyes than a feature on a popular local blog.
  10. Wikipedia information can be revised and updated by literally anyone. Traditional reference material is vetted by scores of editors.
  11. Neighborhood weekly newspapers provide useful information not easily found elsewhere.
  12. Despite fragmentation, advertisers still reach enormous audiences via TV, radio, newspapers and magazines.
  13. A telephone call allows for speedier dialogues than does a series of text messages or emails.
  14. Even in the era of consolidation, no single entity rules old media like Google dominates new media.

Note: This is a follow up to last week’s post, Why New Media Are Better Than Old Media. Both have their respective virtues.

Why New Media Are Better Than Old Media

  1. The internet is open to everyone. No FCC license or printing press necessary.
  2. Net content is available throughout (most of) the world.
  3. Content can be archived on computer drives or accessed via the cloud.
  4. It’s easier to make corrections to web content than to material that’s already been published or transmitted.
  5. Advertising is not as pervasive or obnoxious. Yet.
  6. Content can be more easily targeted to specific groups.
  7. It’s easier to email a file than to send via USPS or FedEx.
  8. It’s quicker to send a text message than to make a call.
  9. Downloading books, movies and music is more convenient and more eco-friendly than purchasing at stores.
  10. Wikipedia and Google provide info that’s more up to date than those volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica and Webster’s dictionary.
  11. Twitter and Facebook serve as community town hall forums for instant sharing of ideas and thoughts on news and events.
  12. Interactivity allows all to participate.
  13. Apps on mobile devices provide immense amounts of entertainment and information.
  14. New media bring continual innovation while old media struggle to keep up.

 

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