Digital media is still popular . . .

Ms. Schwan wrote a great article about how digital media still works, if you do it right;

One headline proclaimed “BuzzFeed and the digital meltdown” and explored the challenges facing the once-darling of digital media. The next headline read “Decline in readers, ads leads hundreds of newspapers to fold.” It detailed a Montana community that lost its newspaper and now looks to a one-man operation for news, mostly through his Facebook posts.

Take those two examples, multiply them out across the nation, and you’ve got a glimpse at what media leaders are grappling with as they attempt to build sustainable business models.

In midst of the latest ‘reporter shield law’ signed by Governor Noem, I still find it a bit odd that they excluded journalists who are independent and work exclusively on the internet. Yes, there is a world of difference from what Jodi does and what I do, but we still work in the same platform, opposite of the failing one;

I used to half-joke when I was in the newspaper industry that, as a business editor, I had pretty good job security.

Someone would have to write the story about whenever the place went out of business, and it seemed logical the role would fall to whomever was left writing about business. By that point, it was really only me, anyway.

It became clear to me that my future wasn’t in that industry, though, during an earnings call in late 2016 when my company’s CEO was asked to “score” the opportunity for continued expense reduction. He compared it to being in the third inning of a baseball game. In other words, they saw plenty of room to further cut costs. I’m not sure where they would consider themselves at today, but I suspect they haven’t reached the seventh-inning stretch.

And it’s just not the dead tree version that is actually dying, the digital format our local newspaper applies is dying also. It’s almost like they are trying to kill off the traditional paper by putting stories online sometimes 2-5 days before they print in the paper. Only to direct people to a website that you have to pay to read (which I felt was a horrible idea). I always thought that they should have kept the online FREE and posted teasers to stories that you could read in the daily printed subscription getting people to read both. I was even surprised with all the stories about flooding emergencies in SF, they still were not offering FREE online readership (I think they had one story available for FREE?).

Jodi says it best, digital media works depending on your platform and opportunities. I often have people tell me across the state that they wouldn’t know what was going on in city government if they didn’t read my site;

I don’t know if this is the future business model for local media, but it’s working so far, and it definitely can grow more. I would argue it has to in order to deliver what the community needs and deserves.

The sad irony is that, in the case of Sioux Falls, there has never been more to talk about. We’ve never had this level of development and industry change. We’ve also never encountered the corresponding challenges that growth brings to a community in quite this way. Look even at this week, when unprecedented weather demanded we have credible information-gatherers spread throughout the state.

In short, there have never been more stories to tell in this city. And it’s sad to me that there is a decreasing number of journalists to tell them. It motivates me to figure out a better way. And two years into it, at least I can say I’m on my way. Thank you so much to all who help make it possible.

I would agree, there are so many stories out their to be covered and lack of experience, lack of creativity, lack of resources, lack of historical knowledge and just plain lack of people and lack of good leadership if there is any leadership at all. This all reared it’s head last week when KSFY reporter, Vanessa Gomez accused city councilors Starr and Stehly of ‘putting her in the middle’. Uh, it’s kind of your job to ferret out the truth (I will give you a hint, it wasn’t coming from TJ TypeOver and City Hall). Ironically shortly after their press conference there was an announcement from city hall to run 3 pothole shifts with a goal to get caught up by April.

Maybe other media digital platforms are failing, because essentially they have a losing team. Sorry Jodi, I wasn’t as polite about it.



4 comments ↓

#1 D@ily Spin on 03.18.19 at 6:48 pm

The Argus doesn’t reach the masses. They’ve become a place to post public notices. Some seniors still get the paper for the obits and crossword puzzle. Local television networks are news from national feeds and local police frequencies. Some watch Survivor or The Voice but they lost the majority of their audience.

Blogs were a resource. There’s to much partiality and self promotion.

The future is not cable or satellite TV. There’s hundreds of channels but still nothing worth watching.

Streaming will prevail. You can view one program at a time via google schedule and advanced recording.

What about news and local interest? It will be video streams. Services such as WhatsAp, Line, and Skype are trying to capture attention presently with free video calls. They could become the new Streaming Networks to replace NBC and CBS.

What has always worked is free broadcast with acceptable commercials time. It’s starting to happen with local and regional internet video sites.

As for me, I miss Naked News.

#2 Matthew Paulson on 03.18.19 at 7:10 pm

Sounds like you should sent a printed copy of South DaCola to local elected officials every month. Then you won’t be excluded from the new reporter shield law. 🙂

#3 Blasphemo on 03.18.19 at 7:45 pm

OMG. I didn’t know it was the voice of KSFY’s Vanessa Gomez asking that inane question off camera at the press conference. Our local TV news keeps augering down to unprecedented lows. It’s very apparent their rock bottom pay makes it very difficult to attract new talent. But, what kind of TV station management would think it a good move to promote reporter Gomez to nightly news anchor??!!! Admittedly, putting yourself in front of TV cameras is a risky proposition. You open yourself up to all kinds of personal attacks, and those hurt. But, the journalism profession has many different roles. Not every journalism student is a good candidate to represent a media outlet in public and/or on-camera.

#4 USD on 03.18.19 at 11:37 pm

There was a time when I was interested in going into journalism in South Dakota, but not anymore. The style of journalism I want to do is dead in this state. Nobody has the guts to piss off those with power.

They just can’t afford to have guts.

It’s sad but my hopes for this state are very slim and my chance of staying to see the conclusion even slimmer.

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