It's Not Print That's Dying, It's Print Journalism
As one of my mentors, copywriting and direct marketing guru Denny Hatch, points out, we are living in an age of ego journalism.
Where did it all start? Perhaps when the first newspaper or magazine writer decided to put a picture next to his or her byline, likely in that asinine "hand on chin" pose. Before you write to say, "but you have your photo on this very page," I'll tell you that my colleagues and boss have requested it, while my wife still can't believe I let someone take a photo of me in a tie. For the record, I also was wearing jeans.
My buddy Vince will never land a paying job as a writer, but many of his friends love reading his blog. Just last week, my brother was asked by a Web site full of user-generated content to write a review of a Fleetwood Mac concert in exchange for a pair of tickets. Neither Vince nor Bill wants nor expects anything more.
I've heard all about the need for writers and editors to listen more to their readers and engage them in two-way discussions. Why has it taken so long? Has online publishing caused newspaper and magazine writers to start adding their e-mail addresses and phone numbers at the end of their stories, show up at industry events, or create Twitter accounts? I hope not, because that just isn't doing enough.
Good content will be consumed regardless of whether it's published on papyrus or the latest e-Kindle-Reader-Pod, but it doesn't matter if our subscribers also want dialog. They will go to the places where they can get it, whether it's Vince's blog or my brother's review of the concert, while the professionals will be left scratching their heads.
Writers, radio talk show hosts or television personalities possess a talent. Some would even call it a gift. Always remember that the people reading and listening are your customers. Although they may not actually pay you, if they go away, so will you.