By Lillian Williams
Do you really understand your media audience?
That’s a key to success, according to Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute, and founder of the Project for Excellence in Journalism at the Pew Research Center.
Rosenstiel recently gave a compact TEDx talk that carefully laid out problems and opportunities for journalism resulting from digital technology disruption. (His key points hold value, as well, for other communications-related fields.)
Disruption, of course, refers to shrinking newsrooms and weak advertising revenues.
“New technology has fundamentally dissolved the old system for financing news. Seventy percent of the classified advertising in newspapers 10 years ago is gone, vanished.”
“Newspapers have 40 percent less revenue than they had in 2000. Most of that has happened since 2008. The number of reporters in newspaper newsrooms in the United States is 30 percent less than it was 10 years ago. The audience for network news, the 6:30 network news on ABC, NBC, CBS, is half than what it was in 1980.”
But does that mean consumers are turning away from news? Absolutely not. And therein lies the secret to success, according to Rosenstiel.
“The news of the future has to be designed to how we live our lives; what are you doing now; what do you need to know?”
Do you know the rhythm of your audience, he asks?
“We’re now discovering that people get up [in the morning]; get on their mobile phone in bed, and want to know, and are willing to read stories produced the night before. When they’re at the breakfast table, people use tablets, a little bit. When they’re in transit they use mobile phones, while they are at work, they’re on desk tops. About 4 p.m. in the afternoon, traffic on tablets begins to spike; about 8 p.m. at night, traffic on tablets really gets large. And the way we consume news varies significantly on different devices.”
People yearn for news, Rosenstiel said.
“Today 25 percent of American adults say they get more news than they used to. Ten percent say they get less. And on Mobile devices, where the news is more convenient, 32 percent say they get more news than ever before.
“Half of people first hear about breaking news from television, and then go elsewhere to get that news. Eighty-three percent went to a second source, and half of those people went to a source that was a different platform. So they are not sort of going habitually to the same place, and most of them actually go to familiar, trusted brands, that they know have a track record.”
“Those who understand the audience will thrive; and you will save the next journalism.”
Listen to his recent TEDx talk above.
It’s your turn. What are your thoughts about the ways that advanced digital technologies continue to influence change in journalism? Leave your comments below.