The Economist Magazine recently published a special report about the "state of the media."
In some respects, it was another one of those well-documented -- although oft stated -- laments http://www.economist.com/node/18904136?story_id=18904136 about the declining market share and economic fortunes of newspapers in the United States.
But, unlike many pieces of analysis, this piece offers more of a glass is half full examination. The Economist points out, for example, that in many parts of the world, such as India, newspaper circulation is actually growing.
And in other leading economies such as Germany, newspapers and other publications are actually holding their own, a reflection of their strong readerships and followings.
At the same time, the internet and digital media -- seen by many as the bane of print existence -- might yet be what saves journalism. The New York Times, for one, is having surprising success moving people toward paying for content on its site, one of the most read in the world. And Time Magazine just announced one price for its content on all its platforms -- print, mobile and tablets. http://www.time.com/time/magazine. I
It's a sort of "hybrid" approach to creating content and distributing it.
The point is that the old economic model of using print advertising to subidize the cheap provision of content -- a newspaper -- is waning. But the idea of providing content -- aggregating it in an appealing way and then syndicating it across a number of platforms -- and finding creative ways to make money: that has some potential.
The fact is we need newspapers. They create content, and the potential for community conversation, that contains depth and perspective still not found elsewhere.
What is changing, of course, is how we access them.
In public relations, at places like the University of Kentucky, monetizing content isn't in our interest. But finding compelling ways to create content and then engage with people in a conversation about it certainly is. That's why we aggregate the best of our content each day on a site -- http://uknow.uky.edu -- and try to find as many was as possible to engage the Big Blue Nation in a conversation about what it means to See Blue.
Whether via e-mail, twitter, YouTube, Facebook or Flickr, we've come to the realization that we can't always rely on others to tell our story.
After all, in an important sense, we're all journalists now.
It's just a question of where we publish, how we tell our story and, most importantly, how we engage others in the conversation.