Over the course of the last decade there have been tremendous changes to the media industry as a whole. Those changes have particularly led to the advent of a slew of different digital media properties that have become very well-read and respected among certain groups of readers and observers. The political media world can be a cut-throat space; and surviving in it can be challenging for a myriad of different reasons. With political media outlets, you don’t just have to worry about the bottom line of your business to ensure its sustainability; but you also have to ensure that the readers that you are playing to, are receptive to the type of content you’re producing.
Ken Kurson has a fascinating background in media and politics. Kurson is one of the few who could truly bridge the gap between those two disparate worlds. He worked as a prominent political consultant for many years, in the trenches of the Republican Party. Part of that time was spent working under Rudy Giuliani’s stewardship. In fact, Kurson co-authored Giuliani’s bestseller “Leadership,” which remains a favorite among Republican voters and readers to this day. But Kurson also served on the Giuliani Presidential Campaign in 2008 and worked tirelessly on his candidate’s behalf.
In the media world, Ken Kurson continued innovating an industry that was going through a transitional phase already, by the time he came around. Kurson served as the longtime editor in chief of The New York Observer and its affiliate properties, including The Commercial Observer. He worked with a great deal of zeal in order to effectively lead the publication’s transition from a print outlet that was incredibly well-read by NYC’s elite of the real estate and other related industries, to a digital outlet that commanded a very substantial following an audience.
While at the helm of the paper’s transition, Kurson worked to ensure the paper’s financial stability was maintained in a way that was consistent with the level of advertising and related revenue it had been generating in print format. This has proven to be one of the great challenges for media properties to survive in this current environment. The Coronvirus pandemic aside, the industry has had a number of setbacks due to the proliferation of the blogosphere, and the continued development of the digital and social media worlds.
On one hand, from a citizen’s standpoint, this update and turn of events is certainly constructive. It’s for this reason that we see more and more ordinary folks engaging in citizen journalism. With all the many platforms at their disposal, we’ve seen a considerable movement toward citizen journalism. This has certainly proven to be a constructive step in the right direction from a first amendment standpoint.
There’s no longer a need for an established news property – broadcast, print or digital, staffed with dozens of journalists, videographers, editors and producers, in order to produce quality content that consumers will appreciate. In today’s day and age, if a citizen is sitting on a story that they themselves have found out about through a source, or by virtue of their own standing, they can break it themselves. They need not leak it to a reporter; or pitch it to a broadcast network. Instead, they can simply turn on their iPhone’s video camera feature and share it , and upload it onto Youtube.
Often times, if it has merit to it , it’ll be picked up by the social media and blogospheres, and before you know it , the cable news networks will end up running the story with their own commentary in prime time. In our judgement, this is a sign of very positive progress in that citizens can now feel empowered to do journalism on their own. As traditional models continue to fade, in media and beyond, the media properties that survive will be those that are able to adapt quick enough. But adaptation doesn’t merely have to be quick. It also needs to be done with a strategic and nimble approach.
Ken Kurson has written about this trend; and as interested media observers ourselves, it will surely be interesting to see how this evolution continues developing. There’s no doubt that intellectually honest members of the media play an integral role in our democracy. And it’s equally important for us to have as many intellectually honest journalists gainfully employed and able to continue producing their quality work. A public that is more informed, is a public that is more empowered. We’ll all be better for it .