Chris Hughes, Co-Founder of Facebook, Says Branded Local TV News Will Continue to Prosper
Last week I attended the 2012 Continuity Forum. One of the featured speakers was Chris Hughes, the co-founder of Facebook and current owner and Editor-in-Chief of the New Republic magazine.
Sure he discussed the disruption in traditional news media, but his observations about local news confirmed many of the research results I have discussed in the past. Here are Chris Hughes’ thoughts about the paradigm shifting realities of news consumption in the emerging world of social media:
First and foremost, gatekeeping solely from centralized corporate news headquarters has had its day and is now coming to an end. The news collection process has gone from the select few to the undifferentiated many. Now anyone can report the news via social media and distribute it nationally via the web. The essence of how news is collected and disseminated has changed forever. It has gone from the few…to the millions.
Chris pointed out that Facebook has easily adapted to change because they decided from the beginning to remain content-neutral. They exert no control over editorial content and allow information to evolve according to the whims of the people. Editorial supervision does not exist for Facebook news and so it creates an organic news environment–allowing news to be created and disseminated naturally by those who use the social media platform.
News source directionality has also changed. In the past, people went first to the major news outlets for breaking stories and then they discussed the story among their friends, families, and co-workers. Now people first learn about the news from social media and then they go back to the traditional sources for more detailed information. Chris said the most frequently read articles in the New Republic are the long form articles, not the short condensed ones.
Traditional news reporters got their first jobs in local radio, TV, or newspapers then they went off to form websites and blogs. Now bloggers are being hired by major media groups. Chris cited Brian Stelter formerly with TVNewster who now writes for the New York Times. He thinks that’s the new direction for journalism.
Chris Hughes is a believer in local content. He points out that local TV news brands remain strong. This could be due to the higher credibility scores for local news outlets as well as the live local feel of familiar broadcasters in their area. Despite the prevalence of Facebook and Twitter, people still tune into their 5:00, 6:00, and 11:00 local news. Some things change and others remain the same. Live and local TV news remains a dominant force in today’s digital media landscape.