The enduring power of traditional media
Published on January 14th, 2011 by Lisa Davis
Something happened this holiday season that reaffirmed my beliefs and solidified what I knew to be true. No, I didn’t catch a glimpse of Santa or his eight tiny reindeer, but for this journalism-major-and-longtime-newswire-advocate, what I witnessed was even better: It was the power of traditional media at work. I saw the newspaper (that paper thing) and the radio (the thing in your car with the buttons) do what many people have unjustly claimed these media channels could no longer do: inform, educate, inspire and motivate.
Like so many others, I spent the holidays with my extended family, and in their homes, all was quiet on the social media front. Nary a Facebook page was viewed, and not a tweet was tweeted. Instead, we celebrated the “traditional” media with a stack of magazines, the local and national papers that were delivered daily, and enjoyed the TV and radio that played continually.
So where, you ask, did the “inspiration and motivation” come into play?
Specifically, a feature article in the local paper outlining the city’s New Year’s Eve events gave us everything we needed to plan a fantastic night out. A recommendation made in the pages of the Toronto Star meant a particular bottle of Italian wine found its way to our holiday table. And a technology program on the radio offered up such great advice to parents shopping for age-appropriate Wii games that three of them found their way under the tree.
My point is this: Because of practical information and expert influence from these traditional media sources, decisions were made and money was spent.
Don’t get me wrong, my family is active online (Canadians are the world’s most active web users, after all) and they certainly spend their fair share of time on news and e-commerce sites, food, sports and entertainment blogs. Heck, they even log a lot of hours on YouTube. But not once have they relied on Twitter or Facebook for advice or expert opinion — not for wine, Wii, or New Year’s Eve planning.
For a great many people, newspapers still work. Radio and TV still work. These “not dead yet” channels absolutely continue to inform, educate, inspire and motivate. Audience engagement is not exclusive to social media, and relationships are still made between journalist and news consumer. And while the media landscape is changing, and so too is our definition of “influencer,” it’s critical to remember the power of traditional media. Smart communication professionals know the value in aligning online and offline efforts in their outreach, and they also know the impact that “traditional” distribution of news can have on their audiences and their company’s bottom line.
Tags: traditional media