THE BLOG

Choice and the Changing Face of Media

11/24/2010 03:11 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

To those of you who are members of Gen-Y, did you know that our grandparents actually used to sit and listen to entire news broadcasts on the radio for potentially hours at a time? There was no fast forwarding, no pausing and no "listening to these broadcasts when they wanted to."

Did you know that our parents did the same with the nightly news? Yup, a significant number of them used to watch the famed Walter Chronkite, known commonly as "the most trusted man in America." Where did our parents find out about JFK's death? Many likely found out through him.

These may be obvious facts to many of you.

What about words on a page? The newspapers we pick and choose today are mostly online, aren't they? We choose a story here and a story there and we send them to our friends or family or simply read them for our own enjoyment; this didn't exist back then, clearly. Instead, people read newspapers cover to cover -- not click by click.

And now, with the announcement that Rupert Murdoch and Steve Jobs are teaming up to create a special periodical for the iPad, it is almost a guarantee that the newspaper industry will change forever, as it has been gradually doing. The business has been toying with how to survive in a world where readers are increasingly going online versus reading print copies and subscriptions are down. Making profits has become more and more challenging.

We have now entered a media sphere of "choice": one in which DVRs and the Internet overall and Twitter and RSS feeds enable us to pick and choose what news stories are important or enjoyable to us. We no longer have to sit for a mandated period of time but can instead fast forward or skip through pieces that we do not want to hear or that we do not find entertaining. Overall, the content producers must be creative in searching for ways to earn revenue because with clicks of a button we can tune out ads -- not just on the Internet but on television as well.

And, thus, I propose some questions for us all to ponder, and only offer my answer to one of them:

1. What are some creative alternative ways for the content producers to earn revenue?

2. How do these changes in our media spill into our every day lives? Have our attention spans been changed forever with these changes?

3. Could you sit through an hour-long radio news program today?

In answer to number three, I think that I could sit through an hour-long radio news program, but only if it came with either (a) a DVR or (b) an online summary.

To contact the author, please visit www.DavidHelfenbein.com, or you may reach him via Twitter.