According to a recent We Media/Zogby Interactive poll (as reported by Reuters)
Nearly 70 percent of Americans believe traditional journalism is out of touch, and nearly half are turning to the Internet to get their news.... While most people think journalism is important to the quality of life, 64 percent are dissatisfied with the quality of journalism in their communities.Radio stations and newspapers across the country are looking at shrinking audiences and circulation numbers as more people move to the Internet for information and entertainment.
As content creators, these businesses have the potential to successfully transition to this new market. But only if they understand why it's important to do so, and how the demands of the Internet differ from their offline business models.
Let's make it country simple: people go online to get instant information. And if potential customers don't see it on your site, they'll search on until they do -- and it's not likely they'll be back.
Real world example (rant time).
Tuesday we had Town Council elections in Orange, Virginia. Wednesday I wanted to find out the results. I started with the two local sources of information -- the Orange Review, and WJMA FM.
The Orange Review is a weekly paper, but on the bottom of their website's front page is a box titled "from the Continuous News Desk." So how current was the Orange Review's news? Over 24 hours after the election, the top story was:
Six scramble for two seats - Published 6 days, 11 hours, 40 minutes ago
News flash: a weekly post is not equal to continuous news.
So I went to the WJMA website and clicked on headline news. Their news was even less helpful:
Incumbents won in Culpeper and lost in Orange in yesterday's town council elections in Culpeper & OrangeWTF?!? We've had this discussion about WJMA's "news" before, and things haven't changed. WHO WON? WHAT ARE THEIR NAMES? They won't tell us who won, but they repeat the names of the counties twice in the same headline!
So I went to the Daily Progress, which is the regional daily paper based in Charlottesville (about 40 miles away). Their headline?
Orange voters pick Gibson, Higginbotham
Thank you. That's all I wanted to know (although the rest of the story was well worth reading and had lots of additional helpful information).
So count me into that 65%.
And there's an economic impact to this story as well. In the future, I'll go to the Daily Progress website for local information. Which means traffic for their site will go up, and traffic for the Orange Review and WJMA sites will go down. And since traffic impacts online ad revenue, the Progress' site just generated a little more money for their company. Sure, I'm just one person, but how many others in Orange County have learned the same lesson?