You could have knocked me down with a feather when I had a response from THE Alfie Deyes@pointlessblog on my Instagram post about his latest interview with Blogosphere magazine. Never in a million years did I think he would comment. (I’m not oblivious that it could be one of his social media team responding but, shh, stop ruining it for me, ok?!)
When I was reading the Blogosphere article a thought struck me. What happens once you’re at the top of the PR influencer industry? How do you continue to grow, stay relevant and what direction should you take?
I took a while to answer Alfie’s Instagram reply asking what I thought about the article, it was Christmas after all! Here are my thoughts on what direction Alfie could take next.
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!