The news industry is dead. 2/2 Learn from Mario.

Recently I am all over advice on blogging and much of it tells me to insert a provocative, unexpected element into the title. So I chose Mario. They didn’t say I have to appear intelligent.

The 1D trap

Continued from the last entry… Until a decade ago, news media competed on only one metric: speed. * The slower ones could survive because overall, delivery speed was far slower and readers were regionally segregated, less aware of other choices. Once the net came in and the winner took it all, there was little room left for the rest. In fact, the astonishing thing is not that most of them are dying, but that most have survived to this date.

Ask Mario: Super Mario Brothers (1985). Run through the field, defeat enemies, make out with the princess.

The lost 2D frontiers

So, the one dimension of speed isn’t enough to give media an advantage. The next logical way forward is to jump to the two-dimensional world: different topics. Only…that is not enough. News media could try to branch into niche-categories, but all of them are already taken. When you find websites dedicated to different flavors of KitKat (> 100) or instant noodles (> 4000), you know the wild frontier of niche topics does not exist anymore.

Ask Mario: Super Mario 64 (1996). Explore the field, defeat enemies, make out with the princess.

The final way out: 3D

The only way left to go is three-dimensional. I am not talking about depth, although that is important. Here, 3D is about creating your own planet with your own rules. Competing on the same metrics or in the same area is over. It is time to get out of competition.

Ask Mario: Super Mario Galaxy (2007). Fly around the space, defeat enemies, make out with the princess.

Okay then…

We understand we've got to be the only one of something, a unique existence. How? That is going to be the topic of another entry. One of those blog advisers said “Milk your content as much as possible.” Maybe they used different words, such as “have a stock of ideas,” but I am sure that’s what they wanted to say. After all, they have been blogging about being a better blogger/writer for years; in other words, saying “Keep writing” in a thousand different ways.

Wait, one more…

* My trusted editor and mentor, Sherry Lamoreaux, pointed out an obvious shortcoming in the idea of speed as the only metric on which traditional media companies competed. “I disagree, at least as far as print goes. Some newspapers were known for brilliant investigative reporting (see the Pentagon Papers, see Watergate) and some for wonderful writing, or for having great authority (NYT).  The Guardian has it all, still.” She is dead-on, and that gives me a good reason to write another entry…