Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Final Third

The following was a response to a post on one of the message boards from back in Arkansas. I was reacting to a conversation about how the media in the area didn't "get" social media. After finishing I decided to repost here for two reasons. First, I like the rule of thirds way that the division of effective media works. Second, to show an example of how you can interact with the participatory media as someone who lives in the PR field. I'll take a slightly different angle and the rule of thirds. A third of the media remain clueless - and this is mostly management - to the way the networking of computers has changed the flow of information. They still want to be the gatekeepers, and Twitter just undercuts them. Another third understand it, but they want to just do the easiest things. They equate doing something with journalism. These are the ones who want to stream press conferences, live blog or tweet games, put up raw materials like documents and say, see, look how productive we are. The third that will survive are the ones that understand that what separates them and their craft from the second third is value added. Anyone can grab a FOIA to get Houston or Bobby's cell phone records. (An essential item the second third of media forgets - they aren't special compared to the eager citizen who could do the same thing.). You need knowledge to vet the numbers, see patterns, discover connections. That j-school training to edit, parse and separate crap from importance is the value a well trained individual adds to their work. And, with so much information out there now, the ability to sift and sort it - to curate it - for the end user is the other part of this equation. Look at the media in the area and see if you can't put them into those three categories. Bet the ones you pay the most attention to are in the final third.

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