A Digital World: Adapt or Else

Updated May 23

One of the few things that got the world’s attention off the Donald Sterling matter recently was the ouster of Jill Abramson as executive editor of The New York Times.

The New York Times. To some, it’s still the standard for credible and timely news and information. And to many others, it’s just another app — if you bother to download it among all the other free ones out there. (For the record, I have a subscription to the Times’ digital edition, which includes smartphone access.)

One of the things that came out in the Abramson matter was the fact that the Times felt like it was losing ground to websites like the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, which have no print outlets. This was cited in a 96-page internal report that the Times management commissioned to see how it was faring in the rapidly changing and economically significant digital universe. Remember, it has not been that long since Amazon.com owner Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, another iconic publication.

And it has been just a few years since the Times had to seek out a huge cash infusion from a Mexican billionaire to conduct business as usual.

Keep in mind that most geographically based newspapers still get most of their revenue from the print side. Those full-page ads still are cash cows, and hard to replicate digitally.

But also keep in mind how much things have changed just in the smartphone era. Since the iPhone was introduced in 2007, mobile-first sites like Instagram and WhatsApp have become billion-dollar companies. No business can afford to ignore that trend. It won’t be long before papers like the Times will find their digital operations leading the revenue stream.

This plays out in a geopolitical way, too. The above Twitter post from Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce executive Nick Masino (@nickmasino) was one of several he made from a business trip in May to South Korea. He and the local delegation were on a job-linking mission that bore fruit, and the tweets of street scenes in Korea had to be a delight for the Gwinnett Korean population, which is a significant number.

But of course, you generally had to be focused on Twitter or Instagram to get any of that. No wonder the Times’ report suggested that the company “shift the newsroom’s center of gravity away from Page One.”

So you get the digital picture. Now, I’ve got to get my thumbs warmed up for typing my grocery list into my smartphone.

Got something to add to this? Leave a comment below.

 

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About Steve Burns

I live in the Atlanta area. I also lived for many years in Southern California. I'm into mainstream media, social media, sports, business and politics. I worked for AOL's Patch, but this is my personal blog. I'm on Twitter (@bsteve76), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. See ya 'round!
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