Newspapers are folding by the day. Readers are abandoning print and going online. Today we read, online of course, of Singapore Press Holdings’ valuation falling below the New York Times in 12 years. At the same time we read of the Wall Street Journal stopping their print editions in Singapore and Hong Kong. Sadly they are part of a trend that has also hit Indonesia media hard.
Many news outlets have tried to follow their readers by going online. The strategy, however, hasn’t paid off for most of them as online advertising is going more to Facebook and Google than to these outlets.
What should companies that have been relying on engagement with newspapers and news outlets do, now that these traditional outlets are closing down?
Some have tried to go digital by shifting their marketing and promotional efforts online but that does not work as their target audiences have an abundance of choice and shun any type of interruption marketing, even if its on the platforms they use like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The more savvy ones go for content marketing. Those that do well come up with content that is relevant for their audiences with information that is useful for their targeted audiences. Or they amuse them. The rest fade into a mist of irrelevance.
In all this, something is missing that cannot take over the ideal traditional role of the media – An independent voice that carefully chooses (or curates, using the current lingo) the news that we should be interested in, as opposed to what we think we are interested in. A source of authority, a pointer to inconvenient truths, a conscience of the people or a community.
Public relations professionals also experience this frustration. And its for this reason that Maverick, as our names suggests, is trying out something that would disrupt the traditional way in which a controversial industry engages with the media, how its players get informed and in what the directions the public discourse on issues relating to the industry should be going.
It’s still in the works but our bet is that there is a need for something to fill in the vacuum left by a media that is once look up to as responsible, authoritative, informative, rising the right issues and asking the right questions without resorting to fault-finding. Stay tuned.