Arianna Huffington’s Middle Ground: Print Media’s Utopia

Arianna Huffington

Thanks to Arianna Huffington, new and old media may finally be able to get along. That’s the ideal democracy that the media matron is striving towards, as outlined in Arianna’s talk at the Toronto Advertising Week conference. Sponsored by the Toronto Star, a print media publication, Arianna’s speech navigated away from a one-size-fits all approach to news distribution.

No longer focusing on the pros and cons of new versus traditional media when it comes to the written word, Arianna is focusing on a line of strategy that looks to merge the two for mutual benefits in the near and long term. The “new age” concept as it applies to print versus online content distribution means that the two aspects of media can be combined into one rather powerful force. It’s something I’ve been waiting to see successfully implemented for some time, and perhaps Arianna’s unique position as a powerful force behind the Huffington Post can make some waves.

Arianna’s message comes at a prime time, given the disappointment some have experienced after the release of the Apple iPad. Thought to be a possible savior of the print media industry, we soon realized that the iPad would merely bring traditional print media closer to the new media that’s being driven by online hubs, networks and sharing methods.

Using some of new media’s weaknesses as strengths, Arianna also highlights some of the ways in which social media hubs can become a part of the traditional media structure. Even as new media and online social networks such as Twitter have a user-driven system that can share false information, it also has a self-induced selectivity that regulates that system as a whole. Leveraging this in particular, Arianna brings up several ways in which new media can be a benefit to traditional media.

What we’re seeing is a shift in the way we create, consume and share media, regardless of where it comes from. Trust, then, becomes a centralizing factor in moving forward with the merging of our sometimes battling media formats. The social sharing piece of new media shifts our concept of trust, placing consumers in more control of their media experience. As a result, large content distributors and brands must seek different ways of gaining and maintaining the trust of their audience. Socially driven media outlets are honing themselves in order to support these new concepts of trust.

While it’s still an ongoing process, Arianna’s position on the incorporation of new and traditional media into a dually comprehensive system speaks to the necessities of a dying industry and another seeking validation. Further addressing the needs of both of these media contributors will take some time and additional refinement of new media methods, but I think we’re well on our way to success.

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