Speak a lot and you’ll get noticed (or thrown out).
I speak a lot. In each of the past ten years, I given approximately half a dozen speeches at all sorts of media conferences. Yet since 2000, most traditional publishers and broadcasters haven’t liked what I said. That’s because I’m saying that they are wrong; I’m saying that most are steering their media companies towards disasterous shoals in print, broadcast, and online.
Maybe that’s why in recent years I’ve not been invited again to speak in at most publishers’ and broadcasters’ conferences in America (but am in demand at American journalists’ and academics’ conferences plus at publishers’ and broadcasters’ conferences abroad). What little feedback I’ve gotten from traditional publishers and broadcasters is that most think I’m too radical, contrarian, ‘alarmist,’ and too far removed from what they think they need to do to reverse the long declining usage of their media.
That is too bad, because I think many of them are the ones who are too removed from what needs to be done and too far removed from their readers, viewers, and listeners. The data about their declining readership, viewership, and listenership supports what I say. So, if I’m telling them what they don’t want to hear, then I hope they’ll pardon me because it is what needs to be said.
At least people outside the media are taking notice. I’m pleased to be one of 23 Americans chosen for inclusion in the biennial book Representative American Speeches 2004-2005, published as part of H. W. Wilson Company’s The Reference Series.
Alongside my speech, in a section that the book’s editors call Established and New Media, are speeches by Jan Schaffer, the executive director of the University of Maryland’s Institute for Interactive Journalism; b>Alan Nelson, publisher and co-founder of Command Post; and U.S. Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton.
Jan’s excellent speech was her keynote to the annual meeting of the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors (AASFE), in New Orleans on October 1, 2004. Entitled Interactive Journalism: Drawing in Readers with a High-Tech Approach, it challenged the editors to create interactive journalism that makes information meaningful to people’s lives, create online civic participation, and give people a participatory stake in stories.
Alan spoke 15 days later at the Associated Press Managing Editors (APME) annual conference, held in Louisville, Kentucky. Earlier that morning, I’d given a speech there earlier that was later referred to by Columbia Journalism Review, but Alan’s speech was much more interesting. He explained how that he and some other created a group weblog that’s now has more than 7 million registered users who want to know news from the war and occupation of Iraq more directly than from mainstream news media.
Senator Clinton’s speech, on March 8, 2005, in Washington, D.C., was a keynote overview of the Kaiser Family Foundation‘s survey Generation M: Media in the Lives of Kids 8 to 18 about how children and teenagers are using new-media more than traditional media and probably will do so for the rest of their lives.
My speech was to the Broadcast Education Association’s session during the National Association of Broadcasters annual conference, held April 22, 2005, in Las Vegas. NAB is a conference of traditional broadcasters, yet its BEA session is more open to new ideas.
Oddly, mine wasn’t a keynote or even a prepared speech. Instead, my impromptu remarks as the first person speaking on a four-person panel entitled Reinventing the Local TV Station: Ground-Breaking Ideas from Innovative Thinkers were recorded by the BEA and the publishers of Representative American Speeches 2004-2005 apparently transcribed it. (This meant that I had to run their book through Optical Character Recognition software so that I could reproduce my own speech below!)
Other speakers included in the book are Kenneth Beldon, Robert Reich, Peter Sprigg, Evan Wolfson, and U.S. Senator Barack Obama on the what the book’s editors call A Divided America; Ronald Flowers, R. Drew Smith, Nadine Strossen, and Donald Wuerl on Church and State; Mariah Burton Nelson, Peter Orszag, William Spriggs, Mark Warshawsky, and President George W. Bush on Seniors and Social Security; and Stephen Dannhauser, T. R. Reid, U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and President George W. Bush on America and the New Europe.
My congratulations to Jan, Alan, and Senator Clinton on being quoted about the state of media. Under the link below is my speech about the challenge for the TV industry.