Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Reinventing the News: Radio's Bright Future

Down here on earth, print reporters, editors and lovers are in hysterics about the death of the printed word. Journalism is over as we know it. But wait. Up above, in the airwaves, radio is doing better than ever.

Last week, WBUR Radio's Director of New Media Robin Lubbock spoke to my class about radio's success in the face of new media. Since millions of people are still stuck in their cars during the daily commute, the audience for quality radio has not changed a bit. In fact, with stations like WBUR entering into online content, it's even possible radio's audience has grown from local to (selectively) worldwide.

I once worked at a company that provided the website template and content for public radio stations nationwide. Some of the stations uploaded their own shows to the site, but the majority of them stuck to the bare-bones template and AP content. WBUR is an exception. Their online content rivals that of the Boston Globe's, and it seems Lubbock doesn't stop thinking of new ways to expand with today's technology.

What struck me as timely, given the radio station's successful online foray, is if WBUR will go from a popular news radio station with a great website to one day a legitimate online source that also happens to operate a local radio station. This question can also be raised about magazines: could magazines one day be a comprehensive website and blog that just happens to publish a round-up of its best content on a monthly, seasonal or even annual basis?

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