Digital Media Transforming Journalism

Ken Kurson is a veteran journalist who has proved a pivotal role in the transition that one of New York City’s most well-read and well-regarded news properties has played on the NYC real estate scene. Kurson heralded the transformation of The New York Observer as the paper’s Editor in Chief for many years, including during its substantive transition from a print outlet read by thousands, including NYC’s most sophisticated and affluent demographic; to a digital outlet that has been thriving ever since its creation. 

The changes that the advent of digital media has had on the economics of the media business have been vast. The changes have been rapid and nothing short of transformative. Those media outlets that have been prudent in responding to these changes will benefit dramatically, if they haven’t already. Those that haven’t, will fall by the waist side. 

Ken Kurson led the Commercial Observer through this transition; as he created a digital property for the outlet that has continued generating interest among its readership and continuing to develop the audience that it  serves. The reality of these transitions is that they are also in response to the changing economic conditions of the journalism and media industries. But these changes can actually prove to be profitable for certain outlets, so long as their editors and managers take advantage of the opportunities in an efficient manner. 

The changes that have come to the industry have created and engendered opportunities for different types of revenue streams that otherwise did not exist. One example is advertising revenue in the digital world, which can prove very useful and invaluable. Whereas the print form for generating advertising revenue was somewhat vain and rigid, the process of generating advertising revenue for digital properties can very much be streamlined, with a great deal of efficiency, if approached correctly. 

There’s also been a series of former journalists who have chosen to capitalize on this opportunity by pursuing their own creation of digital media properties. In this vacuum that has opened up, that can be a potentially very lucrative play – if gone about, correctly. With a properly managed digital media property, the ability to scale and to manage expenses is certainly available in a way it  otherwise wouldn’t be, with print outlets. Moreover, there are ways to now identify one’s audience and develop a more comprehensive understanding of its members, that otherwise didn’t exist, in prior days and years. 

Analytics for example, can be used for the purpose of analyzing the interests of a property’s audience. What is the type of content they especially can appreciate? What does the audience want to read more of? To detect the needs, wants and desires of audience members as a part of an outlet’s pursuit of that type of information, digital analytics’ systems can be very useful, and even helpful. In turn and in exchange, this information can be used by outlets for the purpose of creating content that reflects those interests. 

Kurson created Book and Film Globe with this in mind. Maybe audience members have a preference not only in terms of the subject matter they crave to read more about; but also concerning the reporters that they have a special interest in. Digital media and the proliferation of social media have also similarly created opportunities for readers to connect directly with reporters of their choice and develop a relationship with them that way. 

Through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, reporters can now communicate in an unvarnished fashion with their audiences, in real time. They can use these platforms to spout off about the news of the day outside the context of a formal piece of writing. They can even use the opportunity to pontificate on the news, in a blunt and candid fashion – something that in the archaic print days of journalism would have proven unthinkable.

There are many changes coming to so many industry during these perilous times. But those changes don’t only pose challenges. If navigated correctly, they also present opportunities. It  will be interesting to see who is able to capitalize on these opportunities in the most effective way possible.