Are Media Channels Diverging Or Converging?

Are media channels fragmenting? While looking over the new Vancouver Sun website recently (congratulations again on the redesign to Kirk Lapointe and his team), a blog post by Pamela Fayerman on the Sun’s Medicine Matters blog caught my eye.

Fayerman’s post, entitled Health and medical blogs; what interests you?, offers a couple of interesting thoughts on the changing nature of journalism:

We know that print stories are just a stop along the information highway for readers, not their final destination. Tom Rosenstiel, an author and director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, says reporters are like hunters/gatherers of information. Our role, on the digital side, is to do the aggregation work so that readers can use links where they can go to learn more.

Meanwhile, on my way home from work yesterday, I listened to the latest Media Bullseye Radio podcast with Ike Pigott. The panel featured a lively discussion about the role, nature and future of mainstream media and how it will influence social media (and vice versa) as different media channels converge.

There’s an interesting trend in these two pieces – they both talk about the different media coming together:

  • Fayerman’s piece mentions media as aggregators (a role frequently played by bloggers)
  • The Custom Scoop team talked about convergence between the different forms of media.

Over the last couple of years I’ve observed lots of discussions about the way that conversations are fragmenting. I’ve bemoaned this trend with social media tools as they take up ever-increasing amounts of time just to stay involved with the diverse channels.

I found it interesting that on one day I came across two mentions, on both sides of the old/new media divide, that mentioned a similar trend.

What do you think? Are channels fragmenting or converging?

Update: Ike offered a useful summary of his key points around convergence in the comments:

  • “Print, radio and television news outlets aren’t really all that different when you look at their web components.
  • The fear among all forms of media about “scooping yourself on your own website” is gone. Getting news on your site first does indeed count as “getting it on the record.”
  • The typical silos that media relations people used to consider are gone. If you’ve got some relevant b-roll for your event or news release, you stand a better chance of getting it on the newspaper’s website than you do of the TV stations pulling from it.
  • Eventually, those outlets that are still competitive now will continue with web as the primary means of distribution, but with legacy branding from when they were primarily pulp or broadcast.”
12 comments
Jen Zingsheim
Jen Zingsheim

Dave, thanks for the Media Bullseye mention, it was an interesting discussion (and I don't think of it so much as "suffering" Ike!) ;-) With the contracting we are seeing in the traditional media channels, due primarily to pressure from the drop in advertising revenue (and, two reasons there: decline in subscriptions and the overall drop in economic conditions), it stands to reason that something will need to fill the void that is being created. I truly believe that the next step for the industry is a convergence between traditional and new media, creating a completely different news delivery mechanism. There will be challenges, but I think it's going to be very interesting to watch. Jen

Jen Zingsheim
Jen Zingsheim

Dave, thanks for the Media Bullseye mention, it was an interesting discussion (and I don't think of it so much as "suffering" Ike!) ;-)

With the contracting we are seeing in the traditional media channels, due primarily to pressure from the drop in advertising revenue (and, two reasons there: decline in subscriptions and the overall drop in economic conditions), it stands to reason that something will need to fill the void that is being created.

I truly believe that the next step for the industry is a convergence between traditional and new media, creating a completely different news delivery mechanism. There will be challenges, but I think it's going to be very interesting to watch.

Jen

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

I'd say that's a great summary of the points you made, Ike - I'll add those points to the post for you. Very interesting interview, BTW.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

I'd say that's a great summary of the points you made, Ike - I'll add those points to the post for you. Very interesting interview, BTW.

Ike
Ike

Dave, my point about convergence might need a little explanation for those who don't want to suffer through 35 minutes... * Print, radio and television news outlets aren't really all that different when you look at their web components. * The fear among all forms of media about "scooping yourself on your own website" is gone. Getting news on your site first does indeed count as "getting it on the record." * The typical silos that media relations people used to consider are gone. If you've got some relevant b-roll for your event or news release, you stand a better chance of getting it on the newspaper's website than you do of the TV stations pulling from it. * Eventually, those outlets that are still competitive now will continue with web as the primary means of distribution, but with legacy branding from when they were primarily pulp or broadcast.

Ike
Ike

Dave, my point about convergence might need a little explanation for those who don't want to suffer through 35 minutes...

* Print, radio and television news outlets aren't really all that different when you look at their web components.
* The fear among all forms of media about "scooping yourself on your own website" is gone. Getting news on your site first does indeed count as "getting it on the record."
* The typical silos that media relations people used to consider are gone. If you've got some relevant b-roll for your event or news release, you stand a better chance of getting it on the newspaper's website than you do of the TV stations pulling from it.
* Eventually, those outlets that are still competitive now will continue with web as the primary means of distribution, but with legacy branding from when they were primarily pulp or broadcast.

John Coates
John Coates

I think they are converging. How many blogs do you see with a link to a Linked Profile, or Twitter etc. The appropriate strategy to link all the channels together, get them to come to one site for one thing, but then check out something else, just look at what Shopper Drug Mart does with their Pharmacy, just get them in the store, they will probably buy something else!

John Coates
John Coates

I think they are converging. How many blogs do you see with a link to a Linked Profile, or Twitter etc. The appropriate strategy to link all the channels together, get them to come to one site for one thing, but then check out something else, just look at what Shopper Drug Mart does with their Pharmacy, just get them in the store, they will probably buy something else!

laurent
laurent

I think both ;-) - the top 'blog sites' look more and more like old media (and old media flavored themselves with blog like features): They're big machines, about big news, not very personal..not much part of a tribe (to quote Seth's latest book/thoughts) - and on the other hand 'personal bloggers' who still cover a niche and form a virtual community of 100s, very much like a tribe. So on my right the flat (boring) big city of all media and on my left the little villages tucked behind hills.

laurent
laurent

I think both ;-) - the top 'blog sites' look more and more like old media (and old media flavored themselves with blog like features): They're big machines, about big news, not very personal..not much part of a tribe (to quote Seth's latest book/thoughts) - and on the other hand 'personal bloggers' who still cover a niche and form a virtual community of 100s, very much like a tribe. So on my right the flat (boring) big city of all media and on my left the little villages tucked behind hills.

Phil Barrett
Phil Barrett

I believe we are fragmenting... but social aggregators like friend feed is allowing us to bring things back together.

So the answer is yes to both :)

Phil Barrett
Phil Barrett

I believe we are fragmenting... but social aggregators like friend feed is allowing us to bring things back together. So the answer is yes to both :)