I’ve been turning this phrase over in my head for the past 3 weeks, following a meeting with Doug Wilder (not the former Governor of Virginia) as we were discussing the “where do I go from here” scenarios. Where I go will very likely be determined by the technology that will be used to reach people.
The legacy media will play a part, of course. The world of towers and transmitters won’t go away anytime soon. I still enjoy holding a newspaper in my hands, but I’m 50. My daughter actually gets the New York Times at college, but a recent glimpse of their stock price shows they’ve shed 70% or so of their value in recent months … and not all due to the market decline. BUT she’s also very fond of her i-Pod and a major used of online sources. The local newspaper just shed several from the editorial staff. Legacy media is struggling to evolve, while still maintaining their legacy audience.
It’s obvious that the Internet will be a major player, but the transition is going to be slow. As audiences mix, the challenge will be how to cross platforms so that content can be offered on both the legacy and new media, and creating content that either appeals to both, or messages must be crafted so that the same message can be targeted to different audiences on different but complimentary platforms. It will be a challenge.
These are the fundamental questions that will face everyone and every organization that supposes to disseminate information. From news organizations to political campaigns to soap sellers, it may not be enough to seek out programs, publications, or stations that are targeted to the audience you wish to reach. How do you reach the college freshman who may eschew the Top-40 radio station for the same music downloaded to his or her mp3 player, or the 30-something that records their favorite television programs to a DVR and skips through the commercials? The technology is outpacing the message-crafters, and people seem to like it. And while such things are not yet universal, they’re becoming more common.
So, for those of us who have made our living telling stories, change is inevitable. I’m not predicting the demise of legacy media … just yet. But how we tell those stories, and how they are consumed, is a train that’s already left the station.