Guess Who’s Running the Daily Planet?

April 16, 2009

The dissemination of the news as we once knew it… is broken. Sadly, American newspapers have never been so loved as they are now…now that they’re dying!

An industry once known for posting obituaries is now becoming one itself. RIPS go out to the Rocky Mountain News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Baltimore Examiner, Cincinnati Post, Albuquerque Tribune and even the San Juan Star (you’d have thought tourists could have kept that one alive!)

A 24/7 Wall Street online news article predicted many more major newspapers across the U.S. will shut down their print operations or go digital: including the Philadelphia Daily News, Miami Herald, Detroit News, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Sun Times, NY Daily News and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The New York Times Company shocked the country recently with its threats to close the Boston Globe on May 1 unless the Globe’s unions anted up $20 million in concessions.

So as legacy newspapers become dinosaurs right before our very eyes, might TV News follow in its mighty footsteps? And if so, who’s in charge of our daily news?

The new media of social networking has already shifted content creation and revenue generation from a top-down model to a bottom-up groundswell.The socialization of the Web has given way to an era of personal brands. From Twitter to Facebook, personal blogs to bookmarking sites like Digg, the era of consumer-generated content is currently guiding the media ship in today’s tech-savvy waters.

The humanization and socialization of journalism will create a viable platform for meaningful interaction of loyalty and community built around individual media brands, one person at a time. And going forward, traditional journalists will need to heed the sign posts that direct them to social networking sites to gather input, research and feedback.

As an affirmation to the power of the individual vs. big media, the social experiment currently being played out by Ashton Kutcher and CNN highlights this point.

Kutcher locked into a battle with CNN to become the first Twitter user to have one million followers (he’s already reached this goal on Facebook) is fast approaching this number as we speak. Actually the two opposing twitter accounts are currently neck-and-neck in the race to reach the milestone. CNN has over 972,000 followers, while Kutcher has more than 963,000 followers (at the time of this post).

“When I saw that I was approaching a million and that CNN was too, I thought this was really significant for social media,” stated Kutcher. “For one person to have the ability to broadcast to as many people as a major media network, I think signifies the turning of the tide from traditional news outlets to social news outlets.” Here’s some more of Kutcher’s words on the subject.

The CNN twitter account is a news feed of the company’s stories, while Kutcher’s is a combination of daily musings about his life, messages to wife Demi Moore, and links to news stories with the actor’s commentary.

Granted this battle of wits is a somewhat frivolous example, as one celebrity’s ego is pitted against another (Ted Turner) but nonetheless it does highlight the point that social media networks are here to stay and are controlling the decimation of news.

We live in an age of popularity surveillance now. While us news junkies might have evolved past Big Brother, now that the power has been handed over to the people it is you ladies and gentlemen who are now in charge of of the Daily Planet! Here’s hoping you use to keys to the kingdom wisely!