Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

The Next Evolution Of Publishing – Or How I Can Save Traditional Media

You know that scene in every action movie where someone says, “you know, it’s so crazy, it might work.” Well, this is one of the scenes. Tools like WordPress, Blogger, and Drupal have empowered everyone to be a potential publisher. That’s right, YOU, can make and report on the news…or just about anything for that matter.

News networks like CNN have even created programs that let the public create the news.  The day Google News started including blogs with traditional news publications (eg WSJ and NY Times), it was clear something was changing…or maybe it had changed. Individuals were now being given near instant credibility by Google. Very cool.

The media outlets like Fox, MSNBC, and Tribune Co. continue to have their journalistic credibility questioned. This happened throughout the 2008 presidential election. Hell, it’s still happening if you listen to the jokes at the White House Correspondence Dinner.

OK so we have:

  1. Technology enabling people to become self publishers
  2. New networks leveraging people for stories
  3. Individuals being given near equal credibility to long established publications
  4. A certain level of public mis-trust of the media

So what am I missing? Oh, two other things:

  1. The concept of personal branding is at an all time high
  2. Newspapers are closing down left and right

This is the part now, where I lean in, and almost with a whisper say, “I’ve got an idea so crazy, it might just work.”

I want to turn the publishing model upside down. I think people would pay publishers to let them have a daily, weekly, or monthly column. Yeap, that’s right I think people would pay the NY Post to have their name seen in ink. REAL INK. Not just digital ink, but real ink on paper.

Think I’m crazy? Ok, walk with me for a second. Companies are always pitching publications for a chance to have a featured column. Really. Companies kill themselves trying to get 1,000 words. You know why? Because their name and their company in a publication carries clout with the industry, analysts, clients, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a mutual exchange taking place when it actually happens. AdAge for example gets great content from Steve Rubel, that their readers want to read. In exchange Steve is able to build his brand and Edelman’s. Seems like a fair exchange.

I think this could work. It’s a win-win. People build their personal brands, the publications/newspapers/etc. get fresh content and a revenue stream, and the public hears from real people.

So that’s my plan. Wall Street Journal – I’ll pay you $12,000 annually for a weekly column. You game?