Make Useful Media

shopper I started thinking about how journalists are going to fare in 2009. I thought about how many papers are facing layoffs, how many hundreds of news room jobs have already been cut, and what those skillsets might do once they’ve been unhinged from their current responsibilities. What came to mind was something we might all consider. Are there ways that we can make more useful media, and are there ways we can make media useful?

Every one of these ideas applies to us as much as it does to the incoming rush of journalists out there.

Location-Based Media

I live in a small town in northern Massachusetts, surrounded by many other small towns. There’s always tons of little things going on, but we rarely know what’s what or where. A blog with really simple brief posts about events, and then maybe longer reviews about places that are great to visit would really give me some value. And if you’re looking for revenue, local advertising is an area where you can hustle some interesting opportunities together.

Another location-based idea involves my experiments with BrightKite. I’ve written about my thoughts on the annotated world, and I think there are further opportunities here, for all of us to consider. And please, not for your company’s dumb products. Think “useful.” Think “helpful.”

Interest-Based Media

There are always opportunities for media around specific ideas. I suggested the need for someone to build a blog to equip people to report small news. It’s another way someone could be helpful, and there are so many more.

That’s the thing. You could write about your skills and there’s almost certainly someone out there who’d want to know more about it. Are you passionate about canning and pickling? I know that TV celebrity Brea Grant probably would subscribe, because she’s looking to learn more about it. Want to learn about grilling and food preparation? Try Justin Levy’s Prime Cuts blog.

There are hundreds of ways to slice this, maybe more. But there’s gold in figuring it out.


This category never gets old. Blogs like LifeHacker and 43 Folders and Lateral Action come right to mind, as do many other blogs that teach us ways to improve. There’s a fairly perpetual marketing for this kind of information. Do you have an area of self-improvement that you can write knowledgeably about? Maybe it’s your ticket to the next level.

We Have Such an Opportunity

We have the presses. We are the TV stations. This is our chance to master tomorrow’s radios today. Why create what’s been done before? Why stick to the media styles and methods and models that have dominated the traditional formats for so long?

Make useful media, share it far and wide, and build business around those opportunities. This is your chance.

Photo credit, ralphbijker

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