Monday, August 25, 2008

New world of journalism "like baseball"

Posted by Craig on 8/25/2008
A past professor of mine - and former colleague at the Democrat and Chronicle -, Scott Pitoniak, was in Beijing covering the Olympics the last three weeks. He wrote in excess of 100 items (stories, blogs, web updates, features) while there according to his latest estimate and was one of just nine sent by Gannett to cover the Games, his fifth Olympics. I look up to him greatly and he really knows his stuff. The closing ceremonies were held yesterday and he wrote the following in his wrap-up blog, reminding readers that he has a regular blog too and they should keep coming back to check it out:

"[T]he new world of journalism is like baseball, and if I don’t get a sufficent number of hits, they’ll be putting this middle-aged sports scribe out to pasture."

That really resonated with me. What a sad way of putting it, but as a sports fanatic, what a perfect analogy, too. Online is all about generating traffic, building up readership, creating loyal customers, and providing a viable product that people find worth checking out...when there are so many other distractions out there in the chaotic digital age that surrounds us. How do you get someone's attention and maintain it? It's certainly not an easy task. If you're not good enough, you're replaced by someone else and the beat of the business goes on, just like in big league baseball - because after all it is a business. It's a harsh and terrible truth in newspapers at this difficult time. And Scott couldn't have put it better than he did in that statement.

I certainly wish him and everyone else at Gannett all the best at this difficult time. And I sincerely hope that changes for the better are on the horizon for all of print journalism, whether that be a new business model, a new direction - it's yet to be seen but adjustments are still needed.

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