After wrapping up the first week of my summer internship, I came across an old essay I had written for class. I’ve decided to publish it, hoping that Gary Vaynerchuk’s completely realistic check-in can give us all the shift kick in the pants we sometimes need. Please check out the above video before reading my essay.
Legacy is greater than currency
Content is king. From my first day at Wartburg College this concept was burned into my mind as I began to build my portfolio for a future career in journalism. But in this ever changing world of various legacy and new media platforms, what does it even mean to be a journalist? Gary Vaynerchuk hit the nail on the head when he said everyone is consuming content everywhere and on different platforms. I predict that within five years, our concepts of legacy media will be entirely different. The people that control the newspapers, television, and radio will no longer be in control. The world that previously tuned into the 5 p.m. newscast every evening is now so busy either hustling or watching reruns of “Lost,” that they don’t have time for it.
Pledge allegiance to the struggle
So, where does that leave me? My original high school plan (graduate, work at a television station or newspaper as a producer or editor) doesn’t seem to fit into this new realm of media. Does the traditional newscast or newspaper bring value to future generations’ lives? When I asked myself this question, I believe that it’s a solid no.
My generation and those behind me are not going to continue with the traditional news/media format because “that’s how it has been done.” The term “has been” means washed up, tired and no longer functioning. Recognizing this, I see a niche market like Vaynerchuk discussed.
People want and need their news repackaged into short, quick segments, accessible on social media whenever they please. You can already see this idea strongly taking shape on Facebook with the ABC World News Tonight with David Muir’s Facecast and their new content geared specifically towards Xbox users on Xboxes.
I am also a huge fan of a theSkimm, the daily email newsletter that gives you everything you need to start your day and be in-the-know without having to scour CNN or a newspaper for the headlines. As theSkimm states, “they do the reading for you – across subject lines and party lines – and break it down with fresh editorial content in a witty and understandable way.” When their company mission is “We are changing the way you consume news,” I feel like we are on the same page.
Anticipating what’s next
Forward thinkers as seen above are groups I want to be part of. I want to help create the push towards quality storytelling available across numerous platforms… where the audience already is ready and waiting to consume content. Vaynerchuk discussed how changes in media consumption are a huge factor that people have not totally wrapped their heads around and he is correct.
Branching out to try new things is necessary to remain relevant. Changing the platform does not mean you have to sacrifice quality content. Content remains king. When I am long passed, I hope that future generations of journalists remember this mantra, but I want to help make the news world, in whatever form I leave it, a sector that is more flexible and adaptable than it currently is.
Hustle is the most important word
How can I start now? I need to pay my dues. Before I start telling the news industry that it has to change, I need to better understand it. I need to wade into its muddy depths and fish out what works from what doesn’t and build from there, whilst staying connected to organizations like theSkimm (I’m currently a Skimm’bassador) to see how they evolve over time. And work. Learn from those ahead of me and improve on what they already know. Make changes and then make changes to the changes.
This past year, I have been listening to quite a bit of the female rapper Iggy Azalea, in particular her single “Work.” On some level, I believe Iggy Azalea and Vaynerchuk would be great business partners because they understand the concepts of passion and hustle. As Iggy raps, “You can hate it or love, the hustle and the struggle is the only thing I’m trusting.”
Every opportunity to create and learn is an opportunity to put myself in a position to succeed. I have to trust in the power of hustling know that only I am responsible for me and my happiness. If I can remain as passionate as I am currently about the future of journalism, the world is at my feet.