Joshua Topolsky founded Vox Media to compete with existing mainstream media.
He writes about how media are always looking for the next “new thing” to save their moribund industry and, in the process, deliver ever worsening standards of media.
The media industry now largely thinks its only working business model is to reach as many people as possible, and sell — usually programmatically, but sometimes not — as many advertisements against that audience as it can. If they tell you otherwise, they are lying.
They are also wrong, I believe, in the long run.
And every few months — or let’s say annually — a technology, or idea, or person comes along and the very stupid and slow media industry thinks that New Thing will fix everything. Get them back to the good times. Make those pennies into actual dollars. One year it might be the iPad, the next it might be an “amateur journalist” network, maybe last year it’s You Won’t Believe What Happens Next, maybe next year it’s video (or live video?), maybe it’s bots. Maybe it’s Instant Articles. Maybe it’s your new app.
Certainly it could be a little bit of all of those things. But actually it’s not any of them. You can always get some runway out of the New Thing. You can always get a quick hit that looks like success from the New Thing. But rarely — almost never — is the New Thing what fixes your problem.