Thursday, June 11, 2009

Caribbean Newspapers Falling Short?

Things and times certainly have changed… and the big money says they will continue to do so as long as things and times exist. Newspapers and journalists cannot afford to have a myopic approach to the many new developments on the internet. We better turn with the tide, or else get turned over.

Speaking from a Caribbean perspective, I think a reanalysis of the relevance of (Caribbean) journalism to today’s socio-technological climate is loooong overdue. Caribbean news-houses, especially our newspapers, are lagging behind in their use of modern technology to optimise content and capture new, untapped audiences. And it’s funny and sad, because their online presence as a textual authority provides (in my opinion, at this point) many more opportunities for a wider scope and reach than other forms of traditional media outlets, which have not as yet even begun to make their presence felt online.

In her address to a US Senate hearing on the future of journalism last month, Google's Vice President of Search Products and User Experience, Marissa Mayer, explained that one of Google's latest and most innovative products, Google Wave, can be especially useful to media houses, if they take the initiative to use them.

Mayer’s points are well worth taking note of. And our newshouses must realise that whether or not they pay attention to what she has to say, her words still stand as truth and prophecies that, if not now accepted and acted upon, will be later remembered and (unfortunately) regretted. Google (with their awesome, enlightened selves) will continue to break new ground and be at the helm of new technological innovations. They will continue to reap the benefits of their insight and foresight, whether or not newspapers pay attention.

It stands to reason, therefore, that our newspapers should quickly act on this invitation to be a part of the 21st century, and see Google as friend, not foe. We should be making every effort to tap into the multi-million people market to which Google already has access. How else do we plan to optimise our reach in the face of ever-growing technological innovations? Best advice is to take Mayer’s advice: act fast, act now!!

17 comments:

Gordon Swaby said...

Ruthibelle i love you hahaha! Hahah Brilliant article. It was in my head for a while, but i just needed someone to say it.

Again, BRILLIANT post

Ruthibelle said...

lol... it's always wonderful to hear someone say that you're brilliant... and you said it twice, so Gordon you know you just went down in my good books, right? lol.

Seriously though, the landscape of journalism has changed significantly, and continues to do so... sad to say, the Caribbean is playing catch-up, or mimicking the ostrich. And, of course, it is not auguring well for our news-houses.

Stunner said...

A very good article indeed! I hope the Caribbean News papers take this advice. They need to take advantage of all the possibilities technology has to offer, especially now when paying readers are diminishing.

Stunner said...

Oh, I just noticed your pic, nniiicceeee! :)

Ruthibelle said...

@Stunner oh dear, I think I may be blushing... if black people can blush, lol.

You make a valid point... paying readers are becoming a scarcity. And it's not because people aren't willing to pay. They just aren't willing to pay for information packaged and delivered in the traditional ways. Not when modern technology makes it possible to get better, more detailed offerings with the click of a button.

Ruthibelle said...

PS Stunner, when you going make your debut on Twitter star?? We going hav to tek drastic measures before you join the Caribbean twitter posse??

Jdid said...

good points.
not really happy with what the online caribbean papers give you to be honest

Ruthibelle said...

@Jdid See... that's another untapped market... the Caribbean diaspora want news from back home, and if it is properly packaged and delivered, they might even be willing to pay for it! We really missin out, ah tell yuh!

Wuthering said...

Ruthi!! You posted your pic!! Hey cutie!

Ruthibelle said...

*blushes* thanx luce :)

RB said...

Ruthiblle They are really waiting on you to change the media landscape. Seriously the people at the top in charge of most of Jamaican media are stuck in the old way of thinking. They can clearly see the trends that most people are getting their info online but they refuse to change, so they will suffer.

They will wake up and smell the coffee as their profits start drying up.

Ruthibelle said...

@RB sad if that's wat it takes.

Will said...

very well said ruthi... i also think that smelling this particular brand of interwebby coffee is another way of fostering regionalism - makes it easier for all of us to keep truly up to date with what's going on with our neighbours...

Abeni said...

agreed but most just want to stick in the mould to whichthey have become accustommed. Just recently a staff member from one the local papers asked me what I thought about a price increase for the paper. To her it made great sense without realising people have so many other news options

Ruthibelle said...

@will - yet another brilliant point and absolutely valid reason for why our media houses should be looking into their online options

@abeni - a price increase for the newspaper at this time? Hmph.

Jamaipanese said...

aaah yes tales of the crappy newspapers and media houses in the region. Preach on girl

Ruthibelle said...

Jpnese... *Sigh*