Glenn Beck has a vision for the future of new media.
It’s hazy and he’s not entirely sure what’s on the horizon, but he knows it won’t include the models of yesteryear.
“The old-style media doesn’t really understand what’s coming their way,” said Glenn Beck at the annual Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) conference in New York City, which TheBlaze attended.
“We are facing what, I think, is a [new] industrial revolution, as big as the Industrial Revolution. But it’s going to be compacted into a 10-year period. Everything is going to change. The system is going to change.
“Cultures will change. Everything is changing. You can either sit here and hang on to whatever it is, these old structures, or you can be more like GM,” he said.
Beck reminded the roomful of journalists that GM used to be a coach maker. However, once the company realized that cars were the way of the future, it got some skin in the game. It didn’t argue for bailouts or lobby to halt the production of cars; it quit the coach-making game and got into the car racket.
“Too many in traditional media have built these huge buildings and giant printing presses and everything else – it’s old! It’s not going to be a part of the future. You don’t have to go through all those portals anymore,” said Beck.
“Adapt or die. It’s a really exciting time. Look at it and say, ‘People will be more free, people will have a chance to have their voice heard more than any other time, it’s good,’” he said. “The people who want to control those voices, the people who want to say, ‘No. It’s my way or the highway. No, it’s going to run through this system’ – they’re the only ones who aren’t going to like it.”
But the people who have something to say, the people who want to have their voices heard, they’re going to love the future of new media, he said.
Betsy Morgan, president of TheBlaze, added to Beck’s remarks by noting the important role social media has played in helping newsmakers develop important relationships with their audience. Twitter, she noted, has been especially critical for the development of new media models.
“There’s a direct connection that you can have,” Morgan said, adding that reporters now have a platform to interact anytime with their audience.
She said of TheBlaze and new media models: “There are no gatekeepers. If I have something to say, or if I have breaking news, I’m just going to go out and say it. I’m not going to wait until the five o’clock show.”
Beck built off her comments: “At no time in human history have we been able to see the perspective of one individual over in Egypt. In real-time, has somebody been able to say, ‘You guys are missing this!’”
He added that the secret to success in new media is to remain humble and to realize that your organization doesn’t have power over the voice of the people.
In the end, he added, news mediums will change, the technology through which we get our information will change, and the people giving us the information will change.
TheBlaze President Betsy Morgan and Glenn Beck (Becket Adams)
So what’s the real secret to staying afloat in the rapidly changing industry?
“It’s all about content,” Beck said. “The entire world revolves around content.”
He said that no matter how things change, and we really don’t know how they will, the secret to winning is to make sure that you surround yourself with the best people and produce the best possible content.
And while discussing these points, Beck made a bold prediction: talk radio is on its way out.
“Talk radio will be over in five years,” he said. “It’ll be out of business because it’s no longer on a platform that is really accessible. You have to jump through hoops. So, at TheBlaze, we’re building TheBlaze Radio. I can tell you how that thing is going to work, how it’s going to be delivered. I can tell you how it’s being delivered today.”
“Doesn’t matter. Get the best people to provide the best content and let the people sort it out,” he said.
He ended by reiterating his main point: New media needs to keep its focus on producing excellent content, because we can never be sure where this thing is headed.
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Featured image Becket Adams. This post has been updated.