Monthly Archives: January 2012

Journalism and Capitalism

When asked if a Journalist can be a good Capitalist, the first thing that came to my mind was baby cut carrots. In the 1980’s an innovative California farmer named Mike Yurosek, wanted to find a way to use otherwise unseemly carrots. After some experimentation and creative use of industrial machinery, baby cut carrots soon became the new darling of the produce world. Not long after their introduction, new carrots were bred for uniformity of color and size and sweetness. Now, more than 172 million tons of these cleaned, pealed, easy to consume, betacarotene packed snacks are sold a year.

The story of baby cut carrots is a nice example of how a little tweak can change consumer behavior. And on the surface, I can’t help but think maybe the same could be done for Journalism. Maybe we just need to make it more attractive, easier to consume and somehow diminutive. But then I realized we already do that with online media, and specifically micro-blogging.  What’s more diminutive than 140 characters and emoticons? And links in our online endeavors can provide the hidden nutrition in our information snacks.

So, I set aside the carrot idea and decided to revisit Economics theory to figure out exactly what this question was asking. What I found in my review was that the basis of Capitalism is economic gain that benefits the individual above all others.  The public good or nutritional value are irrelevant. And this is contrary to the fundamentals of what I believe good journalism to be: information that engages the public to participate for the betterment of society. If we are only about personal gain, then statutes like “do no harm,” have no place in our profession, and that’s something I personally wouldn’t be able to stomach.

The reality of it is, to survive as an endeavor, Journalism requires money, but to survive as a business it has to make profit. If you take the profit part out, you’re left with what is now a growing trend of non-profit journalism. Although the desire for profit can fuel innovation, the nature of non-profit (one hopes) decreases the dueling intentions.

The thing about baby cut carrots is, even though they are somewhat processed, they are still relatively good for you. Small tweaks make a difference. In Journalism, we just need to make sure we are tweaking the right thing.

 

 

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Filed under asides, Journalism

New Sweet Spot for Advertising

It seems that advertising has a new sweet spot, and it’s on Mobile Media. Tab Times reports that, “The ads that appear in iPads and digital tablets seem to be outpacing and outperforming the traditional printed versions of the ads..”

Advertising is a formula:  Appeal to the consumers inferiority wants and desires, create a message, create a corresponding visual that captures both attention and imagination and then get that message out in the medium of the day.

Up until recently that medium was print. Something tactile that you hold in your hand. I can’t deny that holding something tactile, and dare I say glossy (magazines), is very engaging for reasons that I’m sure any neuroscientists could describe in factual detail that would make a great anecdote on The Big Bang Theory.

But since the dawn of the information age, the advertising formula has been shaken and stirred. With blogs, the message becomes more of a conversation. Social Media interaction is now part of the medium, and with mobile technology the electronic medium finally fulfills that tactile piece of of the puzzle, that somehow is more engaging than a mouse and keyboard. And thus, the electronic ad is finally surpassing it’s print predecessor.

Who knew point and click would turn out to be be so inhibiting?

Tab Times takes a wait and see approach to the recent development. but I’m betting that mobile advertising is about to become the next big thing.

Special thanks to blogger Jeff Sonderman who’s blog directed me to the Tab Times article.

 

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What if it cost money every time you want to share?

 

 

 

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