Monday, June 02, 2008

Media and the Internet Ep. XXXIX

media companies don't have choice but to be online nowadays, how much money you pour in to your online venture however is a question companies are finding increasingly difficult to answer. Sure, you will have some Adsense revenues, but technology costs a bomb, and who on earth will write content? In several places, many journalists, particularly 'brand-name' find it beneath their dignity to file copy for online ventures of their employers. I guess until one large media house decides to bite the bullet and make filing online exclusives/features a part of every (or most) journalists KRA's, most media houses will continue to see this dichotomy. Trust me, hiring an online desk/reporting staff will not really redress this problem, you need to have the same eyes and ears that you already have reporting.
But all of this is just a moot point, from recent experience I have a feeling that it isn't senior journalists who are scared of the internet. Most journalists in India will die without Google, heck, thousands would die without their daily Facebook fix and you can't really use Facebook to get a story, unless you're Outlook and make Facebook a story. (A quick aside: Why is Vinod Mehta sucking up to the BJP all of a sudden, has he also realised that the UPA is the worst government we've had since 1977?) The problem I believe comes in management. Now, I have to admit not all media company managers are paranoid about the Internet, though almost all of them are paranoid about the bills for the hardware and bandwidth. But there are several managers working in fairly senior positions in India who are extremely obstinate about the internet. Primarily I guess because they see the internet as a 'thing' that will erode their power. In fact, the strength of opinion generated is quite scary at times.
Now coming back to journalists, I don't understand why it is so difficult to sell the internet proposition to so many journalists. I don't believe that my peers should see the internet as a threat, and most don't, but a significant number do, dismissing the internet as a collection of half-facts. Others of course, see the internet as a great place to lift stories from thanks to the power of Google (which also sees them get caught) but I don't want to re-enter that argument all over again. The thing is this, people do Google you, and filing a ton of work on the internet, on either your site or elsewhere is a great way of building your online brand. Google works everywhere, I use a heap of Google services on my Nokia smartphone and throughly enjoy it.
Because in ten years time, no-body will give a shit about the body of work that you might have done in a heap of old, faded magazines or newspapers or no matter how many exclusives you broke while loitering outside some ministry or another. What is the body of work you have on the internet? And does your employer have a clear and defined internet strategy. If you work for a manager who thinks the internet is the coming of the anti-Christ, it would be advisable to quit. No really!


Shashikant said...


Technology no longer costs a bomb as you perceive. On the contrary its dirt cheap. With services like AWS from Amazon, you don't need to own hardware. Checkout the pricing here and here

May be you can do a story on this.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to have a management that thinks. Period.

Anonymous said...

UPA the worst govt since 1977? pardon me, but your bias is showing.

not too surprising all things considered...