Every business and industry evolves. It has to, or it will die.
Some of us in the media realize our industry may soon wind up on the endangered list if something doesn't change -- and quickly.
The way most print and broadcast media report news isn't effective anymore. Even if a news outlet succeeds in keeping its readers or viewers informed about happenings in their neighborhood, nation or world, that's not enough. Audiences should also be told why something is happening and what can be learned from it or done about it.
Without those other elements, the news becomes a meaningless string of crime scenes and political events. What a disservice to our society.
Even I, a die-hard newshound, find myself paying less attention to traditional forms of "news" these days. I haven't watched a local network TV newscast from start to finish in at least three years. I just can't stomach the parade of sensational and empty stories -- "Up next: Sex in the firehouse" -- scattered between reports of tragedies from all corners of the country -- "Four young children perish in Chicago apartment blaze."
Why on earth do I need to see video of the still-smoldering building? The tearful reaction of neighbors and relatives certainly can be heart-rending, but it doesn't tell me what I can do to protect my family from a similar situation.
As media, we need to take a careful look at the stories we deem worthy of coverage and make them mean something to our audience. If a reporter is going to intrude on someone else's tragedy, it should be for more than shocking video footage.
It should offer a lesson. It should point out an injustice. It should tell me something I need to know to be a better citizen, business manager, parent or friend. Doing less than this relinquishes me, and every other member of the media's audience, to a spectator's role -- simply watching local, national and world events parade by, without feeling like we are truly affected by any of it.
A more constructive approach is sorely overdue.
As editor of SBN Columbus, I'm pledging to take our magazine that next step. Not only will we give you personal stories of business leaders who've found great success or learned valuable lessons the hard way, but we'll offer more ways for you to get in touch with these company owners so you can contact them directly for advice.
We'll also do more to steer you toward other valuable resources in our community that could help you and your business succeed. Our goal is to give you management ideas you can start implementing today -- and ones that will make you more successful in the long haul.
After all, if we can't directly impact your business, your time is better spent elsewhere. Nancy Byron (email@example.com) is editor of SBN Columbus.