Making Money Instead of Making Friends

09 Sep Making Money Instead of Making Friends

Sometimes I wonder if we are  making this a lot harder than it really is.

Yes, the local media industry is in transition.

Yes, we have to find ways to make money in the digital world.

Yes, we need to attract young audiences — online, via mobile devices, wherever they are…

However, sometimes it seems that our industry cares only about how to make money in this transition. Here’s a sampling of topics on the agenda for three different local media events in the next two months:

  • Native Advertising – A Hot New Trend
  • Digital agency in action
  • Mobile/Digital Idea Exchange
  • Building & Monetizing a Local Email Database
  • Native advertising (again, guess it really IS the hot new trend)
  • Small Market Partnerships and New Ventures: Google and Facebook
  • Growing 2014 Mobile Currency

Don’t get me wrong. Every single one of these topics is important and interesting. The problem is, I could find not one agenda item at these conferences devoted to how what we do — inform, entertain and enlighten for the public good — can help us grow into our digital future.

The Orange County Register provides an outstanding example of how focusing on “core product, core readers” makes good business sense. The paper increased pages, doubled the newsroom and beefed up local coverage. Now, they’re celebrating a year’s anniversary of this strategy. Why isn’t this success story touted at every local media conference?

Content matters. Compelling, relevant reporting delivers audiences of all ages. Great content gets better results — in print, online, on mobile devices.

Since when has our business become about making money instead of being the friend at the elbow of the people in our communities?