I attended a W.Va. Digital Strategies Workshop hosted by WVUncovered during the last weekend of March. For this workshop, several publications in West Virginia, the Charleston Gazette, Charleston Daily Mail, among other newspapers and magazines around the state.
I got a really good look at the way W.Va. newspapers are currently functioning, which was refreshing as I was the only college journalist in the room representing The Daily Athenaeum. The room was filled with editors who have been in the news business for longer than I’ve been alive, but I realized I was lucky enough to have the leg up on the social media/blogging boom.
This is part of my education right now, and I’ve grown with it and will continue growing with it. As journalists we must adapt to change, but that process can sometimes take too long and media will move on as new principles are established. Therefore, we must keep changing and looking toward the future; we must not settle for what we know, but what we can predict.
Jeff Sonderman, the Digital Media Fellow at The Poynter Institute, presented new business models for newspapers trying to make the transition to being web first, and how money could be made off of new media. But, as a few editors/publishers mentioned at the workshop, sometimes the media is more advanced than the audience is ready for.
Two-Lane Livin’ publisher made a blog post dedicated to what she had learned at the event, but she said:
Unfortunately, we were often frozen in our tracks by the options and possibilities that lay before us, and were likewise learning digital features that were not yet applicable for our region due to limited access — but over time we have come to find ourselves in a position that we may, and hopefully will, be ready for the digital wave that is heading Central West Virginia’s way.
She makes a good point in saying that even though her audience is not quite ready yet, that they anticipate they will be and are attempting to make the changes now.
With all the pushing and learning, whose job is it to stop and think how the audience will react? The answer is simple – us and the audience. What kind of engaging is there? And where is there room to grow? Who is going to listen and respond? We might not have all the answers, but working to get there is key to finding out what is next.