A few days ago, in wake of the lively war of words between Elon Musk’s Tesla & The New York Times, my colleague Mathew Ingram pointed out that thanks to the Internet and the social web, everyone from companies to governments are acting like media entities and spreading their messages, bypassing the messengers – aka the media outlets. Given that, one might ask: who needs traditional media then?
I tried to help answer that question in my post from last year: Amplification and the changing role of media. The gist of that post was that “as more sources of news start to go direct by posting their thoughts to their blogs, Twitter and Facebook pages, a journalist’s role becomes more about deciding what to amplify and what to ignore.”
…the rise of the social web, that has changed. Blogs, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other such platforms have made it easy for news makers to go direct to their constituents. So what is the role of today’s media person? In addition to reporting news, I think picking things to amplify is also important. Back in the day, news people made a choice by deciding which stories to write. Today, we have to adopt a similar rigor about what we choose to share and amplify. In sharing (on Twitter or even re-blogging) we are sending the same message as doing an original news report.
The big media outlets still have one thing that they can leverage: attention. By leveraging that attention and highlighting things worth highlighting, they can continue to bring the news to their constituents and at the same time add veracity to it — and thereby add the kind of value that makes them worth keeping around.