Amen. Steve Yelvington is the man on online-offline integration. I turn down each and every offer to join some media organization looking to build its online group. This is like playing mediator in a bad Balkan conflict. You’ll end up with a negotiated truce that will fail as soon as someone’s pig breaks out and tramples the neighbor’s crops. It ain’t a dichotomy any more. Any media org that thinks they can make a graceful cash-cow transition is whistling past the graveyard. Burn the huts, fire the old guard who profess allegiance but still pine for the old days on the lobster shift on rewrite, and put the online guys in charge. Like now.
Like pretty much everybody who’s spent a lot of time on the New Media side of the Great Divide, I’ve been leery of organizational integration. Why? Because Luddite values are deeply ingrained in traditional newspaper operational groups, and those values will lead us to defeat. Equally deeply ingrained: Utter denial that those Luddite characteristics exist. It’s a dangerous combination.But this is the 21st century, and if we continue to put up with Luddite behaviors, we’re cooked anyway.
It’s time to restructure, and clean house of the obstructionists.
What happens if you delete your online department? Is the core organization ready to face the future? It’s had more than a decade to get ready. Now or never, guys.