At a time of media fragmentation, one theme resonated at the standing room only IWantMedia “Future of Media” panel this week -- there is a premium on trust, and it looks like real journalism is here to stay.
The panel included some of the heavy hitters in both “old” media and new media: Nick Denton of Gawker, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, WSJ deputy editor Alan Murray, Bonnie Fuller of US Weekly fame, and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark.
Here are some themes cited throughout.
Media brands and the value of content…
Craig Newmark: Trust is a big deal. The organizations that invest in fact checking and research will make a lot of money. Those who don’t will struggle for shrinking ad dollars.
Bonnie Fuller: The idea that newspaper brands have no value, well I think they do… There are brands within brands in traditional media, there are voices within media that people will pay for.
Alan Murray: We have one million people who want the kind of in-depth quality content that we offer and who are willing to pay.
Nick Denton: The value of producing something original has gone up.
And what about advertising…
Bonnie Fuller: I don’t see Perez as a threat to us or Star, there’s a lot of space in that category.
Alan Murray: There is not enough advertisers out there to support us. You will not have a flourishing industry based on advertising alone.
Craig Newmark: The biggest threat to advertising is user reviews mixed with professional reviews. What happens if this is a full blown trend?
Nick Denton: There’s enough advertising to go around.
Random but interesting…
Bonnie Fuller: Twitter has tapped into people’s needs to be stars in their own lives.
Nick Denton: A lot of writers from traditional media don’t adjust well to online.
Alan Murray: Those guys who research stories for months would be bad bloggers.
Jack Dorsey: We’re not interested in selling.
The panel confirmed a lot of what I believed, which is that traditional journalism is here to stay and is still very valuable. Meghan Keane of Econsultancy captures it well here. There will always be changes in mediums and delivery, but we will all still read long-form writing of well-researched pieces whether it’s on blogs, newspapers, magazines, etc. In many ways, even in the digital media world that we live in, this is why clients still want the long feature in print publications. It communicates a story and an angle that somebody took to the time to research. If Wall Street Journal, New York Times and even TechCrunch deem the piece worthy of effort and resources, the readers will trust it. That trust still goes a long way.