Ken Kurson on the Future of Media

Ken Kurson

In a feature story by NewsBlaze that ran over the weekend, Ken Kurson discussed some of the challenges that the economic conditions of the media industry have presented for press barons and media entrepreneurs alike. The changes in the ways audiences and consumers obtain their news has had a substantive impact on the way publishers have managed their media outlets. Many have made the decision to transition their outlets’ news coverage from print to digital media entirely. Others, have invested substantially in creating and developing a significant digital media platform for their respective outlets, in addition to their print publications.

Kurson, who for years was the longtime editor in chief of Observer.com, Observer Media and Commercial Observer, led the charge by creating what has become a very successful digital platform for Observer Media’s properties. The mechanics of the industry have required editors to adapt considerably to the changing environment. But adaptation can be healthy and constructive; and it  is certainly no wonder why many in the media industry have made this change.

It’s not just digital media that has taken off exponentially in terms of growth and consumer interest. Social media has also proven to be a very effective vehicle for engagement between media outlets and their target audiences. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin have proven to be effective tools for this purpose. It’s not entirely about sharing a media outlet’s news coverage today with its readers. It’s also about ensuring that a dedicated and loyal readership is cultivated over time. Social media has become one of a litany of different ways that publishers, editors and their staffs have the renewed ability to keep their audiences engaged over time.

That sort of engagement is incredibly valuable in today’s day and age. It affords readers the ability to communicate with some of their favored reporters at the respective outlet; and also provides them the opportunity to feel like they can be a part of the dialogue and conversation. As the economic conditions of the journalism business have changed dramatically, so too has the ability for outlets to monetize their various properties.

Whereas print advertising used to be the name of the game, the industry has now transitioned into a phase where it  is actually digital advertising that has overtaken the power and importance (in most instances) of print advertising. The ability for publishers to track engagement levels via digital advertising is one of a number of advantages that position digital in a superior light over print advertising.

Analytics allows editorial teams to analyze the articles and various demographic trends a paper might have in terms of its relative audience scale and size. It also allows media outlets the unique opportunity to follow which articles are most popular among their readership; and therefore to maximize on those opportunities. When an outlet has the advantage of being better familiarized with the needs, wants and desires of their audiences, they are naturally better positioned to provide content that their readership will find interesting and enjoyable.

For that reason, the movement in the media industry to the digital space has actually proven to be advantageous for the purpose of affording outlets the ability to better understand their audience’s tastes; and to therefore cultivate and develop a readership that is loyal and dedicated. Ultimately, that’s the objective of any good editor at any well-managed news outlet.

Summary
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