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This Year’s Media Game Changers

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by M.C. Rhodes

It’s no secret technology has been a game changer for the media industry. With constant innovation moving us forward, the industry has had to reevaluate what constitutes news as well as the best way to get it to people. We’re taking a look at five important events in media from 2012 that demonstrate just how fundamentally and quickly the media landscape is shifting.

#1 Instagram Use Soars During Hurricane Sandy The massive “Frankenstorm” that pounded the east coast during October impacted the country’s biggest media hub—New York City—and underscored the importance of citizen journalism.

Those deep in the storm’s path reported exactly what was happening where they lived, without the help of fancy news cameras and professional reporters. Everyday people used Instagram, a photo-sharing service created in 2010, to spread pictures of the destruction.

Hurricane Sandy was called the biggest event in Instagram history, with 10 pictures per second posted with the hashtag #sandy during the storm.

#2 Social Media Changes Election Coverage The 2012 presidential election was a breakthrough in terms of how news outlets use social media to report news.

Twitter was barely a presence in the 2008 presidential election, yet played a huge role in this year’s election. Some of Twitter’s biggest nights in its history were around the televised debates.

The gap between what the media thought people are talking about and what they were actually talking about narrowed. Social media let journalists see exactly what topics, what quotes and what gaffes people found most interesting, driving (for better or worse) professional coverage of the election.

#3 Newsweek Goes Digital Only More publications are pulling their print editions and going only digital. But it was still a shock when Newsweek, in print for almost 80 years and one of the most popular news magazines in the world, announced it would be moving to a completely digital format.

As advertisers look beyond print to place their ads, we may see more publications following suit.

#4 Murdoch’s The Daily Fails The explosion in tablet use in recent years has driven most publications to at least consider a mobile presence. Rupert Murdoch took that idea to a new level, launching The Daily, the world’s first newspaper offered exclusively on the iPad.

The Daily was launched as an alternative to traditional journalism to lead us in the digital age, with some of the country’s top journalists on staff. The $40-per-year app was graphic-oriented and interactive in nature.

However, The Daily went under in 2012. The cheap subscription price could not support a staff of 120 producing all original content, because not enough people were willing to pay even $40.

In order to make money behind a paywall, publications must create exciting content that cannot be found elsewhere. It wasn’t enough for The Daily to use the hottest technology; it needed to have the hottest product as well.

#5 Twitter Needs Spoiler Alert for Olympics One of the frustrating parts of watching the 2012 Summer Olympics for many in the western hemisphere was that viewers knew outcomes before they saw the event. NBC chose to air many events in primetime in the United States, but in a world where information travels so quickly, the medal winners weren’t much of a surprise hours later.

Because of this, NBC’s live-streaming service was immensely popular, both online and through mobile apps. NBC’s Olympic app had 7.1 million downloads, the most downloads for any single television event. Twitter lit up during the opening ceremony, the most-watched Summer Olympics opening ceremony in history. Again the media industry saw the importance of social media and the Internet in modern-day coverage.