Daily Archives: January 11, 2008

Your real competition

You *think* your competition is the guy at the TV station who always rip-and-reads your stories, or the reporter on your beat at the major metro from the big city 12 miles away, or that alt-weekly with the nasty cartoonist, don’t you?

Sorry, but that’s simply not the case.

Oh, sure, your ad reps and their ad reps might be calling the same local businesses and trying to squeeze a few more upsells out of them, and in that sense, yes, you’re competing with other local news organizations for advertising dollars.

But what are you doing to compete for the attention of your audience?

Your competition is the Web.

It’s Facebook and MySpace and Twitter and blogs and iTunes and IM and Ning and Digg and Delicious and e-mail and Flickr and Yelp and Amazon and now is not the time to wave them off as something someone other than your readers spends their time doing.

If you’ve said the words ‘Oh, well we’ve always done it that way’ in the last FIVE YEARS, you have a problem with addressing the question of who is competing with your organization.

If you’ve said the words ‘Oh, but that won’t work here’ in the last THREE YEARS, you definitely have a problem with addressing the pace of change in the news business.

Paul Conley says the time for training dinosaurs is over. I say it’s worth the effort, but the first step is helping them understand they have a problem.

Dave Cohn says the time for evangelizing for change is over. I say he’s right that it’s time to put up or shut up; my job is to do shepherd along journalists who are quick to pay lip service to the Web, pushing them through the next steps of actually changing the way they work, every day.