Sunday, February 22, 2015

Buzzfeed and LinkedIn go wide, but what about local news and commentary?

The Monday Note is one of the best media commentaries online. The two authors, Frédéric Filloux and Jean-Louis Gassée, have very intelligent and informed perspectives on legacy media and new technology. This week, they delved into the valuations of struggling old media companies (The New York Times et al) vs. unprofitable new media companies such as Buzzfeed, and the increasing visibility of social media companies such as LinkedIn in the news/commentary space (which many users access through the LinkedIn homepage).

One line that really jumped out at me was this one from Frédéric Filloux:

"The problem for legacy media is their inability to propose disruptive or scalable perspectives. Wherever we turn -- The NYT, The Guardian, Le Monde -- we see only a sad narrative based on incremental gains and cost-cutting. No game changing perspective, no compelling storytelling, no conquering posture. Instead, in most cases, the scenario is one of quietly managing an inevitable decline."

I wouldn't be so negative on the storytelling of publications such as The New York Times, but I agree with the sentiment that news publications are in decline. I realize this every time I look at my local paper, or certain sections of the Times, such as Business ... which at one time tried to compete with the Wall Street Journal. Now the Times has retrenched around its core national news/commentary/arts coverage while the second-tier sections limp along. 

One thing I would like to add: These companies -- and their digital competitors -- are playing in the national/international space. In local news/commentary, there are no players. AOL/Patch tried and failed. Can the big digital/social players such as Buzzfeed or LinkedIn find an effective way to go local?

LinkedIn commentary in the form of a user-created post
LinkedIn commentary in the form of a user-created post

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