Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Full fat, extra cholesterol

To succeed in the emerging media landscape, we need to be sure we're providing value-added information – information that makes people's lives better, that they can't find elsewhere.

Yes, TMZ generates giant traffic numbers with it's combination of pop culture fact and fantasy while more substantive sites lag behind. Yes, large numbers will watch Dancing With the Stars at the expense of NOVA.

That's not likely to change, but "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" isn't a strategy we can live with. We're a public service journalism company. It's what we do, and if we can't find a profitable way to keep doing it, there's no reason for there to be a McClatchy Co.

If there were no consequences, many of us would probably start dinner with dessert and follow-up with cheese nachos. Fortunately for us, many intelligent people recognize thatgood health and long life requires nutritional meals as well – and the same is true of their information consumption.

In that light, have a look at the video below from the League of Conservation Voters. In my mind, the issue of climate crisis is a settled scientific question, the consequences of both action and inaction siginficant and the need for wide debate imperative. But look at these results: in 2007, five leading broadcast journalists asked presidential contenders 2,275 questions at 120 different venues. No more than 24 touched even remotely on global climate issues.

That's not a nutritious meal – and therein lies opportunity for us. Add value and nutrition to the information diet. There's an appetite for it.

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