Newspapers and Social Media – Parallel Media?

Old Man Reading a newspaper

Saturday morning and I’ve just read through the newspaper, The Irish Examiner, which we have delivered with the milk on a Saturday!

From the age of 13 till 21 I delivered enough of them when I had my own newspaper round ..

To be honest I often never get to read it. I pop it on the kitchen table, with every intention of having a peep at it later and often this never happens and it stays there unread.

Today I read it cover to cover including the supplements and it really showed me what I am missing, why we need newspapers so badly, even in a world where we can get news instantly via our social media channels.

I’m a self confessed lover of Twitter and I tell people at my social media courses and our clients how powerful the platform is – even if you never decide to tweet you can follow your favourite newspapers, radio stations, journalists, celebrities, sports stars, friends and other interesting folk.

Fire it up anytime and you will see a constant stream of updates from everyone you are following. You can use the powerful “search” function and track anyone that is tweeting about a subject.

That sounds pretty incredible – it is.

Why would you bother with a newspaper?

Reading the paper today it showed me some really valuable things that Twitter or any of the other social media platform could not bring me:

Emphasis – The editor and the team will decide the stories that are bigger and the ones that are smaller, those that deserve more space and the ones that deserve to be closer to the front of the paper. Twitter will be delivered to me in messages of 140 characters or less, regardless of how important each tweet is. The skill involved in organising and prioritising all of this is so valuable.

Organisation – The newspaper is organised into a particular sequence, which makes it really easy to find the topics that you are interested in. I can organise the twitter accounts I am following into subject matter lists but this still misses the skill delivered by the newspaper team.

Investigation – We badly need teams of journalists who will investigate topics of interest. We need teams of journalists with a great “nose” investigating issues that may not yet be of interest but they have an instinct that something is wrong. Social media definitely helps with all of us having a voice to highlight issues that we feel are important – we need great journalists using their skills to pick up on these.

News – With so much information hitting us via all the various channels it is really important to pick up the newspaper and glance through all of those headlines so that we don’t miss the “important news”. I learnt a lot today quickly by flicking through the paper.

New Stuff – Reading through the paper today I discovered bucket loads of really interesting “stuff” that I would never have stumbled upon. I wouldn’t have been looking for it online so I would not have found it. The team at the newspaper carefully pick through the world of information, new books and new music and deliver what they feel will be of interest to their readers. I also discover new things every day via social media that is equally of interest.

Skill – We need the skills of the journalists, the writers and the editors to deliver us news and stories in a way that grabs our attention and engages with us. We would be lost without these skills.

Look and Feel – While I love my technology and my gadgetry, my iPhone and my iPad there is something very special about the printed material, the paper, the pictures and the layouts. It’s an enjoyable experience to pick up a newspaper with a cuppa and digest all the news and information that’s on offer. Using an App like Flipboard on the iPad to flick through news and information is convenient and enjoyable but it can’t replace the newspaper experience.

While many feel new media will replace traditional media I’m not that sure – both are valuable in quite different ways and we will benefit from both, we need both.

It’s not either or’s Parallel Media.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer social media training and consultancy from our offices in Cork and Dublin

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8 Responses to “Newspapers and Social Media – Parallel Media?”

  1. declanarthur Says:

    Excellent article – Long live the Press

  2. Mandy Says:

    Completely agree with you Greg. Journalists play such a pivotal role in getting the facts and highlighting stories, social media can propagate these and add the ‘people’ dimension which gives the broader picture. Nothing quite like an ‘actual’ newspaper!

  3. Fergal Bell Says:

    You’re absolutely right, Greg. I tend to use a lot of news apps, like the BBC and a couple of the American ones and they’re great for getting a summary of what’s going on very quickly.

    However, newspapers are very useful for the other reasons you mentioned, particularly for informing you about things you mightn’t have though to look for (although I suspect Google and other engines will start to address this) and for giving you the investigative depth and analysis that concise news platforms don’t.

    ‘Parallel media’ hits the nail on the head.

  4. Dick Brazil Says:

    Hi Greg,good plug for Exam.Has other media seen?
    Know you but,what is your background in media?
    I delighted to see Exam, get a plug in difficult times for all print media but,frankly,my daily,Irish paper,purchase choice is Irish Independent.
    Love to set up a little radio debate with you, on comments you made.
    Frankly,I would love greater print emphasis and, see potential for a people’s paper, like the, Eddie Lyons edited, Bishopstown and, also, Ballincollig News and, then the FREE, Cork News and Cork Independent.
    Cork Daily Pist, next phase, development needs a decision now and, first aspect, if accountant agrees, will be announced in weeks.
    In meantime, keep reading the, exciting, FREE, Cork Daily Post on Facebook and, get out, early tomorrow for your copies of, again, superb,exclusive, local news, social and sport, in FREE, Bishopstown News, Ballincollig News

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