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!!