Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What is media, and is it all created equal?

Great article by Jean Pascal Mathieu in OMMA Magazine. I'll briefly steal/paraphrase here...

What do we consider to be media, and how do we as individuals define it?

Media is generally defined as "tools that store and deliver information or data." However this can still mean different things depending on who you are and what you are talking about.

For instance, to marketers, media is vehicles for places to run ads that will by target audiences.

For the general public, media is usually seen as major brands and broadcast channels providing news and entertainment over the air or within print.

For those surfing the Web, media can mean online and other digital destinations that deliver information, entertainment or opinions produced by their peers.

What's more, the emergence of blogs, social media networks and mico-blogging communities have pretty much blurred the lines of distinction between these definitions, which again begs the question: Are all media really equal?

Nurun's VP of Strategy Jean Pascal Mathieu outlined the following factors that help shape our perceptions of what "real" media are:
  1. A clear editorial mission, usually aimed at a particular niche audience or political position.
  2. The ability to produce original content sufficient to keep the property alive and interesting to the audience.
  3. Responsibility for the quality and value of the content delivered, as well as adherence to a professional code of ethics.
  4. The ability to ensure a level of distribution and visibility congruent with what the public expects of media: presence on newsstands, on the street, in a cable package, on the air, or in a Web news aggregator.
  5. Regular or continuous delivery of "hot" information, as defined by the distribution channel and the media type.
His underlying premise is that a media property that exhibits most or all of these features will have a strong identity. I also agree with what he states regarding how social media has made is possible for orginary people to publish their opinions in what he calls the middle ages of media.
"But what is interesting now, in these "middle ages" of media, is the mix; on the nytimes.com, bloggers and readers opine alongside journalists, although each plays a different role. A lot of the content that finds its way onto the Web property would never have been considered "Fit to Print" by America's traditional newspaper of record. The result is a media hybrid, perhaps, but it's a rich and more relevant media mix."
All really good points to think about as the web brings our change in media consumption and behavior.




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