Friday, July 25, 2008

Old and new media... what's the difference?

In a previous post, I'd asked what the difference was between old and new media. Although this post was based around the effects of blogging on the USA political system, the "citizen as a journalist" effect is having an impact that is being felt across a wider media playing field than just the American Presidential Race.

However, although there is no doubt that media has changed (and should continue to do so), I would like to consider if 'New Media' and 'Old Media' (in reality the social web) are really that different...

The case for (AKA "yes, of course there's a difference)
1. Anyone can be a blogger or make a comment, you don't need a degree in journalism (or a daddy that owns the newspaper) to write your own column these days. The barriers to publishing are minimal and the rewards are not necessarily financial (see my previous posting on Brand Evangelists)
2. Direction is set by the writer, not the editor, owner, shareholders, etc.

The case against (AKA "no, they're all the same now really")
As pointed out recently by Jeremiah Owyang, There is now a significant blurring of the lines between blogs and journalism. Old Media such as TV and Radio have had to change to be part of the dialogue that is happening out there. Newspapers have evolved so that their online versions are broader in content or material that the restrictive printed page and in some cases these online versions are more popular!

My take on this:
The media landscape has changed significantly in the last few years and potentially forever. The citizen as a journalist has grown from a small seed to a large and powerful movement & industry, including online video. To therefore compare Old Media and New Media is to compare the Old Media before the arrival of the Internet and Social Web. To that effect.... of course there are differences, just as there was a huge difference between the theatre of William Shakespeare and the Hey-day of TV in the 1950's & 60's.

But as all media now evolves at a faster pace, converging and fragmenting along every single axis... surely the challenge will not be to compare them but to understand how each is of benefit in this new media world we live in?

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