The sobering news emanating from newspaperdom last week sparked new speculation on the future vitality of that medium. Profits were down (again), and online ad revenue, while growing impressively, just doesn’t seem to be able to replace lost traditional ad revenue.
Nonetheless, the old media guard can’t be accused of complacency when it comes to embracing the new to recapture lost audiences and build their brands — wherever they reside. Nowhere were these digital machinations more on display than with the news of the Virginia Tech shootings. Here’s a sampling:
- Bowing to the almighty SEM acronym, a number of top-tier newspapers purchased Virginia Tech-related keywords to ensure prominence in the paid link section of the search engines
- NBC established a site on Facebook to elicit first-hand student input on the shootings.
- Its cable sibling MSNBC commandeered some VT student/citizen journalists to provide a steady stream of fresh content, much of which via SMS.
- And of course the camera phone that captured it all for rebroadcast in a myriad channels.
- Counteless outlets relied on student weblogs to obtain eyewitness accounts of the shootings.
- One newspaper photo editor in New Jersey posted a plea on Flickr seeking images.
- Wikipedia played a key role as a repository for things VT.
Obviously, there are countless other instances of how this one story provided a showcase for the practice of journalism in this day and age. And I believe it’s just the tip of the transformational iceberg. Marc Glaser of MediaShift posted some worthwhile thoughts on a related theme here, which pre-dated VT.