Stijn Debrouwere helps explain “the mess the news industry is in,” going over tangible examples of how the way people — primarily young people, but not just them — have changed the way they look for information and where they look. It’s a post solidly in the mainstream of examinations of industry disruption, which continue to be useful for helping traditional journalists look past their immediate source of distress: layoffs/buyouts and budget cuts (the latest example, from AdAge about a situation at the Washington Post). Those problems are just symptoms resulting from what Stijn calls the “death by nibbles.” He also does address the issue of what journalists should be doing, including stressing storytelling and personality; “joining the revolution” by considering alternate ways of distributing information, ways that you would not call journalism; become less boring (seriously, that is a huge issue); and “Do stuff that does still matter.”
5/8/12 UPDATE: It’s interesting to compare the above with what the CEO of the Deseret News Publishing Co. — which is seeing circulation gains — says are big ideas changing the media industry. One of the two he cited for content can, I think, wind up getting dismissed:
“Differentiate your content: Invest where you can be ‘the best in the world.’”
Don’t let “best in the world” send you off a cliff, particularly if you run a small newsroom. No one is saying a 20,000-circulation paper or small website needs to compete with the New York Times — or even the Deseret News. But what exactly is it your audience expects you to be best at? Probably not the food page. Town council coverage? Local youth sports? Much more likely. Put your efforts where they can make a difference.