Wayward Journalists, Please Come Back

I am once again impressed at Google’s constant tinkering to make a better experience for their users, and a more profitable place for its advertisers. Its latest effort focuses on user preferences:

“This is designed to further ensure that users will find ads only when they’re most useful and advertisers will receive the most qualified leads. With this improvement, users may see more prominent ads if they are currently showing interest in ads and less prominent ads otherwise.”

In the publishing world, there still seems to be confusion over which to focus on first: blogs or podcasts. The answer of course, is neither. Focus on your readers, your customers, and your advertisers. They will make it abundantly clear how you can better serve them.

As newspapers watch online classified traffic grow by 47%, you can’t help but wonder how they plan on making up this lost revenue?

An interesting quote from a recent Scott Karp entry:

“… how much easier everything might have been if the entire publishing operation had been built on WordPress rather than a cumbersome, overly complex first-generation content management system.”

It’s not the tools holding publishers back. It’s fascinating to me the obsession people have with the tool itself.

Jeff Jarvis doesn’t mince words in his response to journalists laying blame for their situation. In a response to a roundtable on journalism:

“Your words presume an agenda of trying to preserve a past rather than trying to imagine a future…”

The internet has given us an explosion of interest in reading, a powerful means to search for truth, and the ability for anyone to have a voice. I had always thought these were the goals of journalists. When I see journalists balk at how the online explosion has left them sidelined a bit, I question whether they really fear a loss of journalistic values, or simply a loss of pride.

This is a time of huge transition for the publishing industry. But it is a time of great opportunity, and the potential to broaden the power of journalism in ways never before imagined. So can we please stop arguing over the tools, and start focusing on serving our audiences better?