In this edition of the Baekdal Plus Newsletter:
The summer is now almost over, at least in terms of vacation time, and most people are coming back to work, often to filled-up email inboxes.
But this is also an exciting time of year. There are two periods where the publishers I work with is reaching out for guidance. There is the start of the year (from December to February), and then we have the period we are moving into now, which is August-October, where publishers are conceptualizing new plans.
Of course, I'm talking about this from the perspective as a media analyst and a consultant, but I have always found it interesting that there is this very strong seasonal element to how and when publishers talk about strategies.
We are now moving into the part of the year where things get a bit more hectic, which means that I have to shift to more strategy and trend focused reports.
So, this is my focus over the next coming months. But now let's get to the topics of this newsletter.
In the latest episode of the Baekdal Plus Podcast, I talk about media startups, specifically why we keep hearing about new startups, but that they never really seem to be making any real difference.
The fundamental problem is that most media startups just keep coming up with the same idea, and yet every one of them thinks they have come up with something new ... and the problem is that this idea they all have just doesn't work. It doesn't solve any real problems.
So, in this episode of the podcast, I talk about what this idea is, why it fails to work, and what media startups should focus on instead.
And, of course, this doesn't just apply to startups, it also applies to regular publishers who are trying to innovate.
I have had many wonderful discussions with local newspapers, and their struggles to stay relevant in a time where people no longer just define 'local' as being confined to a single city.
I have also had discussions with editors about the importance of local news, and how terrible it is when a city loses its local papers.
The problem, however, is that the way we define local news in terms of journalism and the way we define 'the product' is not really the same.
The product, being a 'package of local stories' is not necessarily read because of the journalism, and it was invented in a time where we didn't have the internet. So, a local newspaper, as a product, is designed to be the internet before the internet. But today, we don't need that. We need local journalism. But the product we put it into is out of date.
So, in my latest Plus report, I go into detail about why this is.
After the US presidential election, we looked in horror at how we in the media struggled to keep people informed, and we promised the public to 'do better' the next time.
The problem was not that we didn't report everything, because we did. The problem was with how we reported it, and the realization that just reporting the news doesn't actually make people informed.
So, are we doing better? Well, no.
It's true we have focused more on fact-checking, which is good. But when we look at the overall approach to journalism, we still see exactly the same problems today than what we saw two years ago.
I have three articles that you might want to read:
If you are a journalist or an editor working for a newspaper, I very strongly encourage you to read these, because we need a change in how we define 'reporting the news'.
The problem we have today is not that people don't know what is happening, but that we have so much information that people don't know what to choose and what to trust. So instead of making an informed choice, they just make up their own minds in a way that fits their preferences.
This is the worst outcome we can have because it directly leads to a misinformed public where their opinions define the narrative and the decisions.
We have to change this!
Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter
"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé