Why modern news vendors are failing

The conventional news vendors – newspapers and local television – are failing badly. They’re taking a lot of damage, and the worst part is that it’s entirely self inflicted.

A couple of anime stilt walkers at SakuraCon

Karen pointed out something that I thought was a great indicator – last weekend there was a convention in Seattle that brought in 9000+ visitors, and there wasn’t a peep about it in the news: Sakura-Con. Granted it’s a bit fringe – it’s all about Anime – but you’d think that with 9000 people attending that maybe SOMEONE would have covered it in the local news.

Not a thing.

The whole reason that news media is failing is because it isn’t reporting anything relevant. Most news is about the world – and we can get that in increasing venues incredibly easily. Everyone has the world news. So very, very few news outlets have realized it’s the local community, not the world, that’s critical to their lifeblood.

KOMO 4 TV (Fisher News) recently annihilated their entire internet focused staff with the recent economic downturn. <SARCASM ALERT>Talk about forward looking… </SARCASM> That’s just rock fucking stupid on a whole new level.

The news companies are going to go under, and rightfully so, unless they start to wake up and realize they need to do business a whole new way. They won’t have the US Govt standing there to bail them out like the US Automakers either (another fine example of rock-fucking-stupid and self-inflicted damage).

(By the way – notice these stilt walkers? Pretty cool work. Apparently took them 2 years of their own RD to work it out. They walked up the escalators with those!)

6 thoughts on “Why modern news vendors are failing

  1. Fisher Communications decided to keep their sites being shovelware — i.e., whatever’s going out on the stations or the AP wires gets shoveled out onto the station-branded websites. No innovation, interactivity, or independent citizen journalism. This is a shame, considering their content libraries, and their stations’ current name recognition in Seattle and Portland. (Whatever value “KOMO” and “KATU” still have is being used for…nothing.)

    The biggest challenge in hyper-local reporting is the tiny ad revenue. As the coverage circle contracts to a smaller and smaller locale, the set of potential advertisers who might pay for journalism also contracts. E.g., there are far fewer potential advertisers within 10 blocks of my house, vs. within 30 miles of my house.

    In Seattle, I’m following two ventures that *might* lead the way, out of desperate necessity if nothing else: http://www.seattlepi.com/ and http://seattlepostglobe.org/. I’m not claiming their odds are good, but relative to the other they’re-dead-but-they-don’t-realize-it-yet venues, they have the best chances, IMNSHO.

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  2. Hi Joe;

    Regretfully, your thesis is not supported:

    http://www.king5.com/localnews/stories/NW_041009WAB-sakuracon-KS.bfdb0c5c.html?btm

    Our Director of Publicity reports further coverage from every major local news source that i can think of: KING, KOMO, KIRO, Q13, PI, The Times, The Weekly, and others that didnt come immediately to mind when i asked her for a quick list.

    Probably our best coverage ever actually!

    But let’s be clear, we where blessed by the fact that easter is a slow news weekend and that elmira worked her ass off to get the press in the door…

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  3. The Seattle Times ran a section-cover photo showing conference attendees getting the eye from some non-conference person. The caption did mention specifics, and they certainly could have run more on it – but as you said its a bit ‘fringe’ (though i would argue not for this town!)

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  4. Just thought I’d identify the stilt walkers, who are Jasmine Gilbert and Pasha Amigud. And they built the stilts with Kim Graham, who was actually the lead designer/builder, though she wasn’t at Sakura-Con.

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  5. CORRECTION: I was mis-informed. Pasha Amigud was the lead designer/builder on this set of stilts. That is Jasmine and he on them.

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