Earl Wilkinson: more people read news today then in any time in history
Local exclusives are more important for small media companies than coverage of biggest global events, because they attract more visitors, Executive Director and CEO of International News Media Association (INMA) Earl Wilkinson told the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza on the sidelines of the 6th News Agencies World Congress in Sofia.
In the first place, he noted that there has been a surge of interest in news now. "I think more people reading news today then in any time in the history. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the companies and the people that are creating that content are not getting paid fairly or directly. And those numbers are gonna catch up. It’s painful days today. But I think in 10 years we're gonna look back in this era as things even now. I think we're gonna be fine," Earl Wilkinson said.
Speaking about small agencies, the CEO of INMA first stressed changes in the information market. "When I was young every local community newspaper viewed itself as the newspaper of record. They got information from Associated Press, Reuters and United Press International and they mixed that with local. And no matter where you were in the US, small community or big community, you read one local newspaper. Local newspapers are still fighting to let go of that. But I think in the digital era your value proposition is local, local, local," he stressed.
"It is not being the newspaper of record, which you can get anywhere in the internet. So how do you double down, triple down, quadruple down in terms of embracing local, how do you make local sexy. I would make the argument - that is the greatest challenge of local media today. It is not - oh, maybe I should do a movie review on the latest Marvel movie. Does that really matter locally? Can’t you get it somewhere else? Local, local, local. I think that local media companies need put blinders on - don’t get distracted, don’t look at other topics, just look at local," Earl Wilkinson suggested.
"Exclusively local. Because, honestly, in the digital era, where the parameters are little fuzzy, its all you got. You might as well embrace it harder vs not embracing it," the Executive Director of INMA concluded.
The 6th News Agencies World Congress - the largest platform for discussing the challenges of the new millennium and topical problems of journalism, traditional media and social media in the 21st century - is being held in Sofia on June 13-15. This event brings together experts and heads of world’s authoritative news agencies. TASS and Vestnik Kavkaza news agencies are participating in the event from Russia.