I can’t think of two things that have a more complicated relationship than social media and the mainstream press. They need each other. Sure, the press got along just fine before Facebook. And yes, social media would still be a compelling social force even if there were no professional journalists producing content. But admit it: Neither of them would be as good alone as they are together. For starters, hybrid products like SmartBrief on Social Media couldn’t exist without both.
The question is, can this relationship be sustained? For a long time, many newspapers tried to ignore the social Web or hide behind pay walls. Even now, some outfits are still griping about bloggers quoting stories or Google proving too much access, while some papers go out of business. But more and more papers are actually looking to social media as a possible answer to their financial woes, even going to far as to hire their own social media directors. Having a dedicated social media professional makes sense from a marketing standpoint. But papers are going to have to find a way to tie their social presence to their ad revenue if they’re going to use social media survive. Until then, they’re stuck with what some experts call the “Phase 2” problem.
What do you think? Can social media save newspapers? What does the future of journalism look like if newspapers fail?
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