Lessons in Digital Media

It is no secret that we live in a digital world. However, many times we don’t consider the effects of digitalization in our everyday media. For a PR professional, reaching your audience is the basis and driving force of any campaign. So how can we adapt traditional media in our digital age?

Amy Jacques of PRSA Tactics interviewed Joshua Hatch, USA Today‘s Interactives Director, after a seminar in Washington D.C. about “saving traditional media.” Hatch had some valuable insight and advice to follow when you are trying to adapt traditional media to today’s digital demands.

Below are Hatch’s main ideas about engaging your audience in the world of digital media:

Q: How can we best engage today’s on-the-go consumer?
A: “The best way to reach people is to go where they are — to make journalism and news and information available everywhere.”

While some people may consider us to live in an information overload of a world, Hatch suggests that we make news more widely available to everyone. I agree with the overall concept, but if people feel smothered with information, they may begin to tune it out and then you would lose your audience completely. I think we could improve this idea by finding ways to target the news to your audience in the medium that is appropriate, so that your message is not lost.

Q: How has the rise of mobile and digital changed storytelling?
A: “There are two keys to what’s happening with mobile. One is the fact that news and information is now available all the time–to me, the more important part of mobile is the spatial component because now you have a device that can match up your location with the news and information of that area.”

Hatch brings up some of the main ideas that traditionally make a “newsworthy” story: timing and proximity. Digital media can improve these factors because the information is much more quick and readily available. Hatch also said: “Some stories are best told through words. Some stories are best told through video or audio or photography or data.” I completely agree with this because while sometimes the visual component is not necessary, there are some times when it is crucial.

Q: What are the challenges of smaller news holes and unfiltered public access — with 24/7 news and with a real-time news cycle?
A: “Misinformation can propagate much more quickly. Culturally, we need to do a better job of media literacy — of teaching people how to ask critical questions, how to evaluate news and information [and] not simply to just believe what you’re told, but to critically analyze it for yourself.”

This is probably my favorite argument that Hatch makes; instead of just accepting the news for what it is, we now have the opportunity for interactivity. We can analyze and respond to what is being told to us.

Overall, I think Hatch makes good suggestions for enhancing traditional media through digital media.

To see the complete article and video, click here.

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Michele Reilley.

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