It’s time for those wedded to the old ways of publishing to admit that the world of communications has evolved, forcing content creators to change the way we do things. It’s time to admit, once and for all, that the Golden Age of centralized influence is gone, that Mega-publishers no longer control eyeballs, and as a result, they no longer hold the same amount of clout as they once did.
With the help of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s On Death and Dying, I’m going to demonstrate the five stages that every journalist/editor/PR/ marketing professional must experience in order to become productive members of our new communications economy:
denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Denial: New Media? Pshaw, just a fad. User-generated content? Ha! Too unprofessional. Blogs? Gimme a break. Nobody wants to read some feety-pajamas-wearing-teenager rant about the New World Order from his parent’s basement. Youtube? Sure, let’s all gather ’round the computer screen to watch skateboarding dogs and candy-powered soda fountains. Facebook and Twitter? Pahleeze. As if I care what some pipsqueak in Peoria is doing right now. C’mon people. Communications is serious business that must be left to the pros.
Anger: WTF? I got a pink slip because some blender manufacturer got over six-million views for grinding up an iphone? Are you serious? You call that professional marketing? And what in the name of Walter Cronkite happened to news reporting? A couple bloggers get lucky with a Trent Lott and Dan Rather story, and I’m filling out forms for unemployment insurance? Some dude on a ferry beats CNN and MSNBC by publishing the first photo of a plane crash on the Hudson and I’m playing eenie-meenie-miney-moe with COBRA health insurance plans? Damn the amateurs. Damn them to hell!
Bargaining: Have you come to your senses yet, boss? I’m a professional (fill-in-the-blank). I write objective/balanced stories. I leverage my relationships with the media to get my company/client stories covered. I write and blast snappy marketing messages at our customers. I’ve got awards, dammit! Please take me back. Pleeeeez? Stella! Stella!
Depression: Everything on the Internet is crap. Nobody reads the newspaper anymore. Who wants to curl up and read with a portable media device for cryin’ out loud? Nobody wants to pay for the pros anymore. How will society survive without paid professionals covering the world for us? Where’s the money? Where’s my newspaper? Hey kid, get off my lawn!
Acceptance: It’s over. The audiences have moved. For better or worse, consumers have changed their behaviors. They get their news, information, and entertainment from different places than our parents did. And they aren’t willing to pay for much for it, either. Newspapers are bankrupt; the journalists that I used to pitch are all unemployed; and the trade shows that I used to spend a King’s ransom on are almost empty. I need to look in different places, talk with different people, and offer different types of content creation services.
Because it’s not about me; it’s about my audience. If I focus on taking care of them, they’ll take care of me.
Photo Credit: Library of Congress
Thanks to Julie Wright for the inspiration for this post!