I sat, fresh-faced and eager to learn. A naive and excited 18-year-old set to unearth the key to communication in the media industry.
I was one in a group of about 25 university journalism students that day. I can still remember the coolness of the metal chair, the pen clenched in my hand, at the ready to record the wisdom to be imparted by our professor.
He walked into the room, a heavyset man breathing heavily and blustering, an important briefcase in hand. He plonked it down with a thud, turned, took in the excited faces and said seven words that have stayed with me to this day.
“Newspapers will be dead in 10 years.”
It certainly wasn’t the inspiration we had expected. You could almost hear our dreams and hopes come crashing to the floor.
I took an immediate dislike to this man (I am known to make snap judgments) and decided then and there to prove him wrong.
I didn’t let his tone – his realism and foresight – deter me from what I always wanted: to write and share the stories of people who needed to be given a voice.
Fast forward 17 years and here I am. I’d be a fool to ignore the fact the media industry is changing, and at an unprecedented rate. Our growing obsession and reliance on technology has seen to that.
Consumers, including readers, have changed the way in which they source information. Today there are digital platforms, social media sites filling our newsfeeds with up-to-date information, and more television options than ever before.
What this has done is fragmented our media usage. It has ultimately divided the audience share.
And while we continue to hear the phrase that spawned my determination and career all those years ago, “print is dead”, there is plenty of evidence counteracting that claim. Just look through these pages.
Yes, media isn’t what it used to be, and with ever-growing technological advancements, it will never be again.
But what these changes have done is shown how print – when done correctly – still has a place in society.
The toughest survive and survive we have. When this magazine launched 10 years ago, naysayers said it wouldn’t survive three months. But here we are, doing what we do best. The key? Connection, community and getting back to basics. Grassroots journalism and business at its best.
Success in this field isn’t only about being aware of your competitors. It’s about changing with the times and of most importance, listening to a community and delivering accordingly. It’s about quality; well-researched journalism that will trump fake news and poorly-informed comment 100 per cent of the time. Quality journalism, of all forms and in all types of publications, still has a place in today’s world. Ten years and counting.