The End of the Media World As We Know It and What to Do About It

When I entered the Faculty of Journalism at the University of Bucharest in June 2000, a whole world was just about to begin. The promise of free journalism in a country that was still licking its wounds 10 years after the fall of communism sounded like heavenly music to my teenage ears.

Our professors, some of whom were working in the media, took the time to teach us both the craft and the theoretical background of media’s social impact. Little did I realize that I was among the last generations to enjoy such a luxury – learning the craft of making real news from those experienced in the battlefield, for whom nothing was too hard to get in their quest for a solid, truthful and balanced story.

SINKING CERTITUDES

Fast forward to today. The challenges the media world has been facing under the impact of new technologies – the Internet, search engines, web and blog management, mobile and tablet technology – are enormous.

In order to adapt, too many media outlets put resources into new distribution channels and forgot about content that is essential to feed these extra channels. With sinking advertising revenues, the money that goes into new platform building is taken from somewhere else, such as payrolls for senior reporters and staff training.

Who can afford the luxury of spending a few days – not months, like in the good old times – but a few days on a real investigation? Who can afford to address a busy senior reporter and ask for advice without risking a coffee mug landing on your head? The days when media were a tough school of life are over; the only learning now is how to do more with less, speed up, drink more coffee, and forgive yourself for being superficial here and there, like in checking some names and facts.

What is the impact of this state-of-art of the media world on us?

Let’s take a look at a few trends that leaders who aim to make their voice heard should pay attention to.

1. Sinking quality of the media content

With advertising revenues drying up and more technologies to integrate in a desperate attempt to adapt and survive, media content’s quality will continue to decrease. As little money is put into market surveys, the connection between reporters and readers will grow even weaker, despite the possibility for the public to comment on articles and blog posts. In short, reporters will continue writing about what they think is relevant and who isn’t happy with the story can swear freely at the end of the story.

2. Advertising pressure

If you’re willing to put no money into advertising, how do you expect us to go on and be on the market to publish your crap?” Under the pressure of economic uncertainties this question will be more and more heard by PR people and corporate communication advisers. We can expect that content publication will get tied even closer to thoroughly negotiated advertising contracts.

3. Brand Journalism

With no training budgets and no real career growth perspectives, more and more talented journalists will flee the media world. Their talent will find shelter in PR agencies or in internal corporate communications departments. More companies will review the impact of the Brand Journalism strategy as an authentic way of making news and gain engagement in a digital world.

4. Improved websites

With media relations becoming more and more challenging, companies will turn their attention back on themselves to do more with less. Among the biggest missed opportunities on the Czech market are quality websites. A good web should function as an adviser and guide to take the visitor to do the actions you need him to do (read, send inquiries or buy). As Czech companies learn to sell more with clever strategies, we can expect website design, search engine optimization (SEO) and digital communication management to gain in importance.

5. Inspiring blogs

Hand in hand with quality websites come inspiring blogs. More and more leaders will learn the power of the written word on their digital reputation. Writing skills and human storytelling will also become a part of the toolbox of inspiring leaders.

6. Clever apps

Companies can be expected to discover the charm of getting into the pocket of their consumer thanks to smart mobile phone applications. The room for creative solutions is unlimited; it’s only a matter of budget and political will to influence the extent to which Czech companies will add more smart apps into their communication portfolio.

7. Personalized newsletters and customer care

Genuine customer care is still a large gray area on the Czech market. In an attempt to create unity, consistency and powerful messages we can expect more attention to be paid to integrating marketing, PR, social media and customer care departments into one unit, and more budget to be placed into these people’s training.

On top of these issues, we can also expect more leaders to open up and admit they don’t know. As uncertainty is the only certitude ahead of us, more and more top decision-makers will be open to admit that Excel charts don’t work in business planning anymore, and it is needed to listen more to gut feelings and follow instincts in order to navigate a world few understand.

As further changes lie ahead for us, one thing is certain: Our world as we know it is gone, we can only barely see the shape of the world ahead of us, and it’s only into our hands to create both the content and layout of this new world for each of us.

THIS TEXT HAS FIRST BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE COLUMN MEDIAPOWER BY LEADERS MAGAZINE ON DECEMBER 19, 2012 http://www.leadersmagazine.cz/2013/11/15/the-end-of-the-media-world-as-we-know-it-and-what-to-do-about-it/#.UuDgV7RNyM8

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The best way to gain, retain, and restore your critical distance as a woman CEO is to have a faithful guide, thought partner, and inspiring challenger by your side. This is what I am for women CEOs. If you are facing major developments in your business or in your career this year, we should talk. Please book or have your assistant book a no-strings-attached free 30-minute CEO exploration call with me; we will get to know each other and I will be thrilled to spot how I could be of your service in 2024 and beyond.
Cristina Muntean
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Let's Talk

The best way to gain, retain, and restore your critical distance as a woman CEO is to have a faithful guide, thought partner, and inspiring challenger by your side. This is what I am for women CEOs. If you are facing major developments in your business or in your career this year, we should talk. Please book or have your assistant book a no-strings-attached free 30-minute CEO exploration call with me; we will get to know each other and I will be thrilled to spot how I could be of your service in 2024 and beyond.