The Independent – The beginning of the end…

The Independent – The beginning of the end…

…or as The Independent calls it ‘the end of an era’.

The 13th of February hailed ‘the new wave’ of digital only journalism. It was announced in an article online that The Independent will no longer have a print edition from the 20th March.

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Read the article.

The digital revolution has changed the face of public relations and it continues to evolve with new online inventions and trends. The creative industry has seen traditional journalism downscale and roles within newspapers change, diminish and come under enormous pressure.

With The Independents move to digital, others will follow.  Could this be the end of newspapers as we know it?

I want to think that it isn’t the end for newspapers. Look at the resurgence in traditional printed books after the wave of e-readers hit the market. The threat was real. Multiple books held in a conveniently compact tablet readily available wherever you go. It makes sense on so many levels.

For a long time it looked like the Kindle had killed off the print press in one swift digital punch.

However, a few years down the line, the market is saturated and there are people like me who still prefer to put the screen down and get involved in a real book. It’s a pleasant feeling to go fully offline and not succumb to the continuous draw of online content. I like books, I like the way they feel, the way they smell and the fact they don’t run out of battery! And, don’t even start me on the damage caused by screens to your eyes. I now wear glasses part-time. Anyway, as always, I digress. Book popularity has started to increase and it looks for now that the book stores have weathered the digital storm.

I hope that newspapers may have this same experience of a resurgence, but I think this may have to be tied in with some kind of content revolution.

Perhaps the best I can hope for is that by only being online the concept of the traditional journalist will endure? Hopefully online newspapers will have the resources to keep more journalists employed and the skills alive.

The cynic in me thinks that newspapers going online only will dilute the news market even further, the few remaining journalists will get lazy and the press release will be used as ‘cover-ready-copy’ without being stat checked or formed in to a real story. This sort of practice can already been seen, so it wouldn’t really be that much of a jump.

Unfortunately I think this is the next big change for newspapers and in a few years the next generation won’t have a clue what a newspaper is. They will laugh that we read things on paper and fetched the news daily from a shop. They will think us ridiculous as all they will know is that news is available at the touch of a button and you need not move a muscle to get it!

What makes me really sad though is the thought that in the future no one will derive joy on a Sunday from settling down with fresh coffee, breakfast and The Sunday Times and taking a long leisurely read of what’s going on in the world. Online reading just isn’t the same. I know all the same information is available online and I’m not against that existing too. But, for now, I’d like to keep things just the same with the option of both print and online.

I really do think that going solely online is the beginning of the end for newspapers. Now that The Independent has set the online precedent the others will follow.

I’d love to know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments section!

Barbie’s Brand Survival

Barbie’s Brand Survival

Hitting the headlines this week is the revelation that Barbie is introducing new shapes, sizes and skin tones. Their justification is diversity, they want to be more inclusive.

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Now I don’t doubt that this is a part of the reason. Mattel have come under some heavy global media fire criticising Barbie’s disproportionate measurements and the negative effects on the children that play with them.

However, let’s not beat around the bush. Barbie’s had a hard time over the past few years. The invention of Bratz and other rival toys, not to mention iPads and other technological supplements, have opened up the field of fun for children around the world. This has meant that the humble Barbie Doll has had to adapt to survive or face its resignation to ‘Retro Toys of the 90’s’ segments on Buzzfeed and lame Christmas television shows.

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Some more of the new Barbie line up!

Now diverse Barbie’s are nothing new. My most prized possession as a child was a beautiful Benetton Barbie, one of the first modern designer Barbies that my Mum bought me back from a trip to Amsterdam.

She was stunning, her clothes were different to any of my regular Barbie dolls. Her skin tone was different, her make up was different, her eyes were more oval and she had long flowing dark hair. She looked chic and Italian. I loved her.

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Wow the power of Google – I found my Benetton Barbie online, she was called Marina!

But, I digress, what I mean to say here is, this is nothing new!

Check out the evolution of Barbie through this link.

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Check out the Twitter hash tag #TheDollEvolves

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What people are failing to ask is what is really going on here?

This is not about diversity, this is about survival. Brand survival. How does a toy stay iconic? It moves with the times and meets the expectations of it’s audience.

Barbie are cleverly using diversity to drive sales and create a strong identity that their new modern market can identify and connect with. In the past any Barbie that didn’t fit the conventional mould was labelled limited edition, like my Benetton Barbie.

They are creating this strong image for their audience to identify with by creating more shapes, sizes and skin tones and making them part of their standard range then using this to address the damaging ‘stick thin’ model mentality that’s so popular in modern media. Ah, a form of feminism for capital gains.

They are even aligning their brand by creating bespoke look-a-like dolls for influential women which are then being promoted through the UN Women’s Twitter account.

Mattel are broadcasting their acceptance of diversity and positive body imagery with a highly public and prominent PR awareness campaign. Would Mum’s around the world want to buy their child a more diverse doll to promote a healthy or different body image? Of course they will.

But don’t be fooled, this really is nothing more than clever public relations to ensure a brands survival with the additional benefit of reputation enhancement. It’s pretty impressive and powerful PR.

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Is Ken next?

P.S. If you want a giggle check out the popular ‘hipster Barbie’ instagram account – a parody of hipster insta accounts!

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Hipster Barbie has her own Instagram account!

Don’t be part of the bae’ing mobs!

Don’t be part of the bae’ing mobs!

Ah, the rise of ‘bae’. Sorry, I have to be honest, I hate it. It’s not for me, I do not care for it and I know this instantly ages me in to the ‘mum’ category of not rolling with the times because I think it sounds ridiculous. Who’s with me?

Ok, ok, I know I may not be able to stop the evolution of language and all those marvellous progressive points you are about to make. But, you may be asking what has caused me to finally write about ‘bae’?

Today I was driving home from work and it was being discussed on the Radio One. The drive-time host, Greg James, brought a revelation in to my life, ‘bae’ actually has a meaning.

Before Anyone Else

Am I the only one who did not know this? (Stop shouting yes at the top of your lungs!) If you didn’t know what it meant then do not fear. I didn’t either and I’m not part of an older generation, living under a rock or afraid of anything that is new! It is used in a similar way to babe, which is what I originally thought when the word first graced my ear drums. Babe, as a term of endearment doesn’t need shortening anyway!

Urban Dictionary has some hilarious definitions for ‘bae’…

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If you are fond of the word and want to use it, then make sure you keep if away from anything professional. I’ve seen it used a couple of times and it goes down like a lead balloon and makes you look like a rookie, again this is applicable to any profession. It is the epitome of unprofessional, so keep it away from your work life.

My next issue with ‘bae’ is that actually this is an acronym and technically when it is written it should be in capitals…

BAE 

I’m pretty sure there should be some full stop’s in-between those letters too!

It turns out that loads of words like this are actually acronyms, some that are well known in our culture and others that are not. I found a fantastic list of 25 frequently used acronyms on a website called Mental Floss, read the article here.

So whether you love it or hate it, at least you know what it means now!