If you’re reading this post, you are aware (maybe painfully knowledgeable) of the rapidly changing media landscape. My colleagues and I are constantly talking about shrinking newspapers and news programs that are devoting less time to news and providing less hard news within the contracted newscast.
Clearly, the future of the news media is cloudy and that is a shame because we need professional journalists, editors, columnists, photo journalists, producers, editorial writers and op-ed editors to report and provide context. I know that the digerati believe the social media arena is filling the void and creating new outlets. I agree (to a degree) but I also believe the social media space is a poor news generation vehicle. It largely remains a means to circulate news and opinions (some informed and some not so much).
The future of newspapers is a particular concern because it is home to the op-ed. While a good op-ed can be difficult to craft and unbelievably challenging to place, it is king in the public affairs realm. There are several reasons why I hail the venerated op-ed. First, it establishes a company or trade association as a thought leader on a subject, which provides a competitive advantage in the world of ideas, public opinion and policymaking. Second, it allows a company or association to state its case and advocate for its point of view. Lastly, it can drive social media.
Think about this: op-eds are picked up by bloggers, Twitter addicts, Facebook users and people from all corners of the social media universe. It is the content that the social media sphere craves. Op-eds are linked to, quoted from, and serve as material for an array of online commentary.
So, social media devotees can join me in hailing the op-ed, which appears to also be the king of the social media empire.