3 reasons why old media is not doomed

A couple opf folk sent me a link to a post on Louis Gray’s blog,  link, which shows the relative decline in Alexa ranking of the news websites.

Sites that used to be among the top visited sites in all the Web have plummeted, as fickle Web visitors have turned their attention away from the brands they once relied on to new brands that have taken their place, including, unsurprisingly, Facebook, YouTube, and major blogs, like TechCrunch and Engadget. 

I know that my own viewing habits have changed – engadget is far more engaging than, say, Wired, and ThinkProgress more readable than the NYTimes.

I don’t see Facebook and the other social networking sites as competitors for the news content based sites, so to me the decline in fortune is really about the increasing power of the super-sized blogs versus old media.

But old media is striking back.

Wired has a few good blogs, and has really changed its format, while the venerable NYTimes of course just opened itself up, and the economist blog Free Exchange is becoming essential reading.

While new media is great at getting better formats, old media does have three critical advantages:

1: Massively strong brands. The NYTimes and The Economist will command respect for many years to come.

2: Highly skilled writers, sub editors and opinion writers. These institutions attract the best talent, and the people of talent like to work together. They also have very strong editorial standards , forged through years of providing us what we like to read.

3: Lawyers. Yes – old media has been dealing with Libel laws for years, and tends to be a bit slow in adopting faster new media partially for this reason. However, newer faster forms of media may find themselves in the libel firing line as they generally do not exercise strong control over editorial and comments. Did you know for example, that you can be sued in New Zealand for writing something in Australia, on a blog hosted in the USA? As long as it is ‘published’ in NZ (i.e. available on the internet) you can have your month in court.

Published by Lance Wiggs


2 replies on “3 reasons why old media is not doomed”

  1. 9: Double the dollars and efforts around all levels of education. This investment always pays in the long run.

    Very glad you put this in. Far too often business “leaders” in NZ call for what appear to be very self serving changes without recognising the importance of other parts of society and the economy to their success.

    The damage that the likes Mssrs Fay & Richwhite have done to the image of business should not be underestimated we need to pay attention to the wider demands and needs of our country.


  2. For me it was never “old media is doomed”, it was “mass media is doomed”. As in the 1-to-many communication medium that was doomed by new media and technology’s liberation of the “people formerly known as the audience” (cue cheesy fanfare). Old media are perfectly positioned to take advantage of the new medium/media as you note – if they get what new media is, and don’t keep regarding it as a new channel – but as a new way of expressing and communicating. Though the longer they leave it, the more likely some of the new kids on the block are to take it FTW.


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