These three words spark fire in those that spent years studying the art of writing and proudly hung a framed journalism degree on a wall in their homes. From one journalist to another, I am truly sorry, but these words are true. Journalism IS dead.
Why Journalism Has Died
Words are no longer enough. During the days of newspapers, the black letters pressed on a page that rubbed off on your fingers as you flipped through the pages were riveting enough. Both fortunately and unfortunately, the introduction of HD video, intense gaming graphics, and constant notifications through multiple forms of technology has made this mess of ink on your hands futile at grabbing the attention of our ADD generation. Even magazines with their visual graphics and pictures are not quite there, though they are still working on conforming to the online world and keeping their business alive.
Journalists have had to turn to the internet to suffice these media hungry wolves that are the new generation of “readers.” I put the word readers in quotations because they really aren’t readers anymore, they are simply partakers of information. The more interestingly portrayed the information is, the more likely they are to pay attention long enough to consume the entire message, and perhaps even share it with others.
As journalists have turned to other forms of media–audio, video, pictures, interactive quizzes and games–journalism has hence morphed into content marketing.
Content Marketing vs. Journalism
The funny thing is that journalists are so frustrated about this change that they refuse to admit it has happened. Perhaps they think this belittles their work somehow? But the truth of the matter is that content marketing thrives because of the work and processes of journalists.
Content marketers still have a journalistic mindset:
- Content marketers, just like journalists, are focused on producing timely information and entertainment, and disseminating it to their audiences.
- Content marketers are still concerned about speed and accuracy, and are persistently checking on the needs of their consumers.
- They, too, are focused on a target audience.
- The dissemination of the information and entertainment is via the internet and social media platforms; not very often does a content marketer create a hard copy you can find dropped on a doorstep or sold in stands on the streets of New York.
- The needs of their consumers are different; they are more concerned with entertainment and ease of access.
- Content marketers find their target audience and write content that would interest them; journalists write content and find a target audience that would be interested in it.
Does this mean that framed degree is worthless? Are those 4-7 years of college pointless? No. Just because the traditional world of journalism is a corpse in the ground does not mean your career needs to decompose too. So if you label yourself as a journalist, where should you go from here?
- Open your mind – allow yourself to consider morphing your thoughts and processes to the mindset of a content marketer. The opportunities in this area are far more extensive than the quickly disintegrating opportunities in traditional journalism.
- Don’t get defensive – while it can be frustrating to have people suggest that your line of work is worthless now, don’t get defensive. Simply prove to them that your line of work fits perfectly into the rising generation, and that you and your skills are still needed in the workforce.
- Learn more – learn more about the work of other online marketers and writers. Discover their processes and how you can make yourself fit into them. Learn about what it means to write and disseminate information online, and which talents and skills you need to improve further.
- Become the audience – Go online and look around. Read the kind of content that is popular, follow blogs, discover interactive content, and learn why it is so popular. Becoming the audience will give you a better idea of what certain audiences are looking for and what makes articles popular/interesting.
- Take classes – Many colleges have recognized the vast transition to online audiences and are providing social media and online writing classes. So go take a class! Learn from the pros in the field on how to use social media to your advantage, how to tweak your writing for online use, how to make your content interactive and shareable. It is a great way to get your feet wet.
Hopefully those three words will no longer kindle an anger-fire within you but rather kindle a burning desire to learn more.
Do you agree with these statements? Is there anything you would add to the discussion on journalism and content marketing? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below!