Future can be bright for traditional media outlets

Last week, two very traditional print media organizations made key investments in securing the relevance of their brands - and traditional media overall - in the future.

Last week, two very traditional print media organizations made key investments in securing the relevance of their brands - and traditional media overall - in the future.

Reuters announced a $100,000 grant that will help fund NewAssignment.net, a new journalism project headed by NYU professor and blogger Jay Rosen, designed to increase the public's role in investigative reporting. While the grant does not allow Reuters any editorial control, it speaks volumes about its commitment to the new, user-generated media climate.

Similarly, The New York Times' decision to hire a futurist in residence has long-term implications. Interactive journalist Michael Rogers will hold the newly created post for a year and serve as consultant to the R&D unit of the company as it finds new ways to meet the changing needs of Times readers.

The Times also released a desktop reader of its print publication, taking its Web edition beyond the browser. These moves underscore that, media critics and blogger grumblings aside, traditional media companies may stand the best chance of survival because of one crucial factor: money.

True, some independent media outlets are attracting VC funding and have built a strong organization from grit and tenacity. One could argue that the traditional outlets simply have more resources, capabilities, and capital to expand and innovate than their new-media competitors. But traditional print media has been there, done that, and has stayed competitive in the face of electronic competition.

While some critics claim that traditional media is not moving fast enough, these recent actions signify that change is afoot. And as long as traditional media organizations can keep on top of market changes, recognize the need for different positions and capabilities, and be willing to back them up with cold hard cash, then they still have a great shot to come out on top.

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