I have been in the media world since the mid 80’s. The days of censorship and civil uprising (perhaps we still are?). There were only public phones and your info sources who met you on street corners and dark alleys.
Fast forward to 2019 a vastly different space. Print is down, the dailies thinner than a pin. The internet is a flurry with news sites, content aggregators, online publishing, social platforms. What is key to note that all these platforms or avenues are all still driven by the same single thing – make money no matter what!
Gone are the days of the truth matters. That integrity, ethics, morals and common decency prevail. Today it’s the more horrific the words and images are the more clicks we are going to get. Every click literally is about money. Clicks equal cash and by jove we are going to get that money one way or another.
This brings me to the 3 segments of new media as I see it.
These are the publishers that will set up their wares on the street corners and try enticing you up to their table, they will smile and do anything to persuade to make that purchase or in the media space that click. Its worth a few bucks, but many clicks add up and it brings in money.
So, the hawkers dolly it up. Make it flashy and colorful. It really does not matter if it’s a quality product or not. Its all about that quick sale. That ad revenue or that pay per click.
The hawkers will switch between positive and negative and throw whatever they can at you to get you to buy from them. That’s the bottom line.
Now they are a bit smarter and perhaps have a bit more money. They made their products look good. Drawing you in with visuals and catchy headlines. Once they get you into the store, they will bombard you with everything they possibly can. They will try shock your into clicking beyond the headline. Those hard hitting and sometimes chilling words that just suck you in. They will enlarge the horrific pictures of suffering, tears, blood, children crying or being torn from their place of safety or put that video up with tiny words that say “graphic content”.
They want to hit you hard in the belly and force an emotional reaction out of you. They want you to be shocked and shaken to your core, they want to share it – that’s double the revenue as you clicked twice and oh boy do they rejoice when you share – guess what? They get added revenue for every time you share.
These are the worst characters in media. They really do not care if the story is true; are the facts verified, did we protect the minors and venerable or did we use their pain to extort a click and share out of you?
They too need to make money. But they know that the money will come. Their focus is to tell the story – the left side, the right side and they take the middle and share both sides. They verify the facts. They consider the parties involved in the story. They protect and guard that minors and victims are not abused, and their faces splashed all over the place.
They will ask – is this the truth? Is this a real newsworthy story? Will the public benefit from the facts that put out there?
If the words that I have written here touch you and cause an emotional reaction in you, then I ask that you take some time and give some thought to what I have written. I challenge you not to share the piece. Rather sit with your colleagues and discuss it.
You get to choose who you want to be in this media space – hawker, hustler or a hero?
Behind the scenes: Ingrid von Stein is a journalist and the founder and CEO of ebizradio.com
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