I subscribe to various e-newsletters supplied by The Birmingham Post, including the E-Business News.

A regular client also provides a daily email bulletin on all things IT-related and as a confirmed news junkie I look forward to both dropping into my inbox.

They help point me in different directions and in the case of the client’s bulletin to many different sources of information.

But it is also interesting to compare the approach of the newspaper and the IT firm to the bulletins they send out.

Both cover similar stories – although there does tend to be a more global focus to the IT firm’s selection of articles – and both cover similar issues.

The big difference comes in the way they handle the news stories. They both have different audiences in mind, obviously, but one seems more intent on educating its readership.

The Post tend to take issues and will often concentrate on the negatives, highlighting the problems and the impact they are having. The IT firm’s bulletin, however, will take the same issues and highlight articles that look for positives – how can you safeguard against phishing; a sensible approach to internet use that helps firms to stay in control but doesn’t alienate staff.

Old habits die hard. Having worked as a journalist for 18 years I know why the Post, other media titles and organisations dwell on the negative side of an issue.

But is this approach now at odds with the media’s on-going scramble to embrace new technology?

Can you try and encourage readers and viewers to engage more online and through various tools – blogging, podcasting, video messages etc – telling them how great it all is, but then in the next breath lay on the doom and gloom as thick as you possibly can about the same technology?

There are many other examples from many other media outlets of how they are trying to embrace technology to safeguard their own future, yet effectively demonise the same technology in the way they cover particular stories.

Providing mixed messages won’t help win readers or boost ratings, they merely add to the confusion and lack of undeerstanding.

2 responses »

  1. aj@lecraic says:

    Think back to the Y2K problem that never was. Even in the IT industry we were geared up for Armageddon, mostly because the media had it hyped up to such an extent that we almost believed it ourselves. In the end, it was a non event. I worked for a large PC manufacturer at the time and it was a big party the night of the switchover. Virtually no calls came in at all.

    I think those that embrace the “new world order” of media, will flourish in the long run.

    ps – have you seen http://www.angryjournalist.com yet ? Not saying you are angry but I’m sure you would find it interesting 🙂

  2. Paul Groves says:

    aj: Thanks.
    I am aware of angryjournalist.com…

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