Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Rebuilding Media

Via newmediamusings, I see that the folks over at Corante have launched a blog called Rebuilding Media. They speaketh the trutheth:
In 1905, although steam locomotives pulled trains between cities and the New York City had some subways trains with electric locomotion, transportation media in America meant horses. They pulled coaches, wagons, carts, carriages, and even streetcars. Riders astride saddled horses were still an everyday sight. As the proprietors of livery stables, businesses of which every town had many, would have told you, 'Humanity has depended upon the horse for millennia and always will'.

They were wrong. Most purveyors of that medium were out of business within 20 years. Despite millennia of humanity’s reliance on horses, fundamental change, fueled by new transportation media technologies, swept that old media away and quickly replaced it with new media. It’s a lesson that news & information media industry executives today should learn for their own sakes and survivals.

With today’s hindsight, it is easy to see how horseless carriages, mass production, and paved roads relatively quickly (circa 1900-1920) and ineluctably replaced horses as Americans’ preferred medium of transportation. But who in 1905 would have seen that fundamental change underway in transportation media to be so obvious?

A similarly fundamental change in news & information media is underway now. For many executives in that industry, this change doesn’t seem obvious. To us, it obviously is.

Despite humanity’s reliance on newspapers for four centuries, on magazines for one and a half centuries, on radio for a century, and on television for half of a century, a fundamental change, fueled by new media technologies, is sweeping away those old media and replacing them relatively quickly and ineluctibly with new media.

By now, media companies should start to realize that the time to start new-media subsidiaries has ended and the time to replace their old media with new-media has begun. Unfortunately, most media companies don’t yet see how obvious their need to accept this fundamental change is. Like those livery stable owners a century ago, they’re still clinging to the past.

They also already have an excellent post about the success of the Lawrence Journal-World online empire, and I like their style of mixing up longer think pieces with the "Blink" category - quick links to important news and stories. I find it hard to keep up with a lot of the exploding new media blogs out there, but I'll definitely be reading this one.