I’ve just come from reading a blog written by a radio journalism student. He recounts a stimulating first week at university where a series of industry luminaries rhapsodised about their lovely telly careers. The media, they said, is so marvelous. This special, special club. Being in it and part of it.
And then they all concluded by telling these young, enthusiastic neophytes that, basically, everything’s changed now – and we’re all screwed.
Anyone who wants to get into the media should probably just give up. Right now. Do not pass Go. Do not collect anything.
What this young student’s lecturers should have said was that there are new ways of content production and dissemination coming to the fore.
Digital journalism, online and tablet publishing, they’re not harbingers of doom. They’re merely harbingers of change. And things will continue to change – so right now the best thing a young content provider can do if he or she wants to be paid is to become a digital entrepreneur.
The people making money online aren’t posting stuff on the Huffington Post for free – they’re running the Huffington Post. They’re in charge of disseminating and publishing content and taking the revenues.
Here’s the secret. The net enables anyone to do that.
All you need is a computer or tablet. Sometimes, all you need is a phone.
Writers – there’s no end to how you can get your work out there. From WordPress to G+, there are platforms available to publish and build audiences. Photographers should go iOS and haul themselves onto Instagram, by hook, crook or click.
Even broadcasting – especially radio – as a distribution model for content can be replaced by digital means. Podcasting, UStream… If you want to make radio find a niche, make it, disseminate it yourself and narrowcast. Download Garageband, plug a mic into your iPad and you’re good to go.
If you want to make TV, you can do that now. With a digital camera for a couple of hundred dollars – or a smartphone that shoots HD – and a Vimeo account.
These are the production models of the future. Content made on the move and consumed on the move.
It’s not the current cohort of young creatives who should be worried – it’s those many, many journalists and producers and photographers who can’t change or, more likely, who refuse to change.
They should keep taking the tablets and let the rest of us get on with building tomorrow’s media.