Friday, January 16, 2009

New Canadian Media Guild Blog

Lise Laeau, President of the Canadian Media Guild has launched a new blog called Newsshift with the preamble
It's not the time for us to stay quiet
You may feel increasingly muzzled at work, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't - and don't - have thoughts and ideas about what is going on in our industry. Independent, diverse and well-resourced media are the lifeblood of democracy. This is one place to discuss what the media is not covering about itself and to share comments and ideas, anonymously or not.
The first post is on the economic crisis in the media and covers some of the many layoffs that have arisen out of the current recession.
"What’s not being told is that a perfect storm is battering virtually every North American media company. And bigger is not really better. Many that went on acquisition frenzies over the past decade (see Canwest, Tribune Co.) are so mired in debt they can’t deal with either the recession or the declining ad market for traditional media (TV, radio, newspapers). No one knows when and if they’ll ever be able to “monetize” the internet to make up for the massive losses in their bread-and-butter advertising.

South of the border, Tribune Co. filed for bankruptcy protection in early December. Gannett, which owns USA Today and 85 other newspapers in the United States, has announced that it is forcing thousands of employees to take an unpaid week off this quarter. Detroit’s two newspapers announced they’re going to cut home delivery to only three days a week.
Feel free to weigh in on Lise's questions if you have ideas. Personally I'm not sure what to say. I'm certainly in favor of greater CBC funding. Having said that the old models for media - print, radio, television and film are dead or dying and they aren't coming back, regardless of the economy. Each 'media outlet' (and there are now millions) is going to have to find their own way without any proven formulas or models and I have only met a handful of people in Canada who really seem to understand the current climate, the technology and the direction things are likely to take.

Once again I'll say that it does no good at all to know where the ball is and run for it, by the time you get there it will be gone. You have to be able to figure out where the ball is headed and get there before it does and there are few among the leadership in media that seem to grasp this. For the most part they seem to be standing where the ball used to be and hoping it will come back.

The audience for any media outlet is now global, according to Alexa is now the 255,385th most popular website in India, is #1,352 in the world and in the top 4,000 sites in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, India and China. The potential for the future in this climate is huge, but you have to completely forget how things used to be and, as always, you will sink or swim based on the quality of your content.

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