Savannah Swix

Importance of Adaptability in the Digital Age for Media

After completing the readings for the week, one of the overlapping trends seems to be that media companies are influenced by the increasingly common transition to digital and, in some cases, using it to potentially drive new revenue opportunities.

The Christian Science Monitor moved its publication online and became “web-first,” according to Laura Hazard Owen in a Nieman Lab article, and attempted to reach more readers online via “a daily, digital subscription product.” Quartz is also taking a step toward a subscription service targeted at “global business professionals,” says the founders Dave and Helen Edwards in “Business news site Quartz is getting ready to launch a subscription business.” Meanwhile, The New York Times is making a move to incorporate a large part of its advertising on digital and focusing less on print, as well as make some cuts to “align themselves with leaner digital media companies” after a report was released earlier this year.  

These different publications and companies also share a common interest in being a point of connection for certain audiences. New York magazine started a membership program, which, according to  Niemen Lab, was an attempt to “serve, primarily, our New York City-based audience that turns to New York for discovery of what’s new, what’s next, what’s cool, what’s insider-y in the experience of living here.” They created something that the CEO herself says is exclusively targeted toward New Yorkers and intended to create a community-type-of-feel. I am left wondering about the magazine’s thought process behind determining this. To me, it would seem that most New Yorkers would already be reading New York magazine, more so than people who live outside of the city. Perhaps the answer is that they are simply a New York City-oriented news outlet and so that’s why they chose to market toward those people, but it got me thinking about what we have been focusing on in class about discovering who needs your product and how you determine who they are.

Christian Science Monitor is also trying to provide newsworthy information and covering current events in a way that is not depressing and discouraging or biased. They’re trying to be a source for the people who are distancing themselves from the news because of the increasing level of negativity that they believe is being served at the hand of the major media outlets. Owen wrote the editor’s words about the Christian Science Monitor being “calm and fact-based and fundamentally constructive, and assumes that our readers are looking to have a fundamentally constructive approach to the news.” The goal is to tell the stories that need to be told, but also to do so in a way that can reach both sides of any situation, using different perspectives.

While the majority of this week’s articles discussed publications and companies that are changing in this new era of digital media, BuzzFeed is the lone figure that was introduced during the rise. Therefore, many of its qualities are ones that are attempting to be replicated by the older and more outdated outlets. For example, The New York Times article discussed how they were going to begin hiring people who are multi-talented in the digital arts, while Buzzfeed did that from the start. They created their own ad agency, video production studio and news team. They also succeeded by reaching their audience where they were already spending a lot of their time, including social media platforms like Facebook, according to the Fast Company article.

One of the things that was stated in the Buzzfeed article was, “Adaptability is a particularly useful trait in the digital media world right now.” Overall, I think this describes what all of these organizations and companies have been trying to do – adapt. They all want to reach an audience and continue to share their content, but it’s up to them to find the ways that they can make that possible for them.

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