Good column by L. Gordon Crovitz in The Wall Street Journal today. The headline is "Media Moguls and Creative Destruction," spinning off a new book entitled "The Curse of the Mogul: What's Wrong with the World's Leading Media Companies." The column's conclusion about what any media organization should do: "Focus on what makes each brand different and more valuable than the ever-increasing number of alternatives that technology makes inevitable." Good advice, I think. But probably not enough, even if I'm not sure there's anything more that news organizations can do. The reason I say it may not be enough is that in most cases, achieving scale seems so critical. Easier said than done. At the same time, scale may not be enough. Look at the big newspapers and how they tout the fact that their total audience is growing at the same time as their print circulation is declining. While that's true, in the digital world, total audience isn't the key, or at least it doesn't seem to be to me. What's key is knowing who the audience is and where they are. What good does it do an advertiser in Denver if most of the readers on a local Web site are from distant cities or have no interest in their product because they're the wrong demographic for the advertiser.
Chicago Tribune Editor Gerald Kern gave a stirring speech at the Medill School of Journalism last week. I thought it especially interesting how he defined the mission/brand of his news organization.
- We stand up for our community and citizens.
- We capture the Chicago experience.
- We move people emotionally and intellectually.
- We help people navigate their daily lives.
- We fuel conversation - the Tribune is a social medium
- We break news - we don't just report it.