If you believe the hype, it can sometimes seem that only a handful of nerds are inventing the media future. Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook, for starters; Steve Jobs and his iPad team at Apple; Biz Stone and Evan Williams, a.k.a. the Twitter guys; and then your choice of any of the current VC-anointed social-media darlings (e.g., the gang at location-based check-in service Foursquare).
We're not saying they're not deserving of in-depth, even occasionally obsessive, coverage, but the great journalistic pile-on surrounding a handful of the "hot" tech companies in the media space can obscure the bigger picture. The truth is, thousands of tech/creative/editorial people and hundreds of companies are transforming the media landscape. And some of the most exciting innovations are actually coming from much-maligned "traditional" or "mainstream" media companies.
The other truth is that many traditional and mainstream companies -- and even many young new-media companies -- aren't necessarily great at self-promotion. And the tech blogosphere has, shall we say, its priorities. A magazine publisher might, for instance, introduce a terrific new iPad app on a Tuesday, but she should forget about getting a critical mass of coverage if Mark Zuckerberg burps after lunch that day.
In the increasingly crowded realm of next-generation media, who is doing the best, most interesting, most transformative work? We decided to create a system to find out.
Introducing the 2010 Media Vanguard Awards (MVAs). Simply put, the MVAs seek to recognize the efforts of publishers and broadcasters -- both traditional/ mainstream and web-native -- that are finding innovative, technology-driven means to extend their franchises and connect with audiences in new ways.
The media world has changed so dramatically in the past few years that it's easy to forget that for most of the modern media age, media makers were largely siloed: Newspaper and magazine people mostly worried about putting ink on paper, TV people cared about video, radio people about audio. But now all purveyors of content must cross boundaries and constantly rethink their strategies for reaching audiences, as the internet and mobile technologies have rapidly transformed consumer expectations. Media properties are trying on new concepts and moving into new spaces. They are, well, the vanguard.
The MVAs will recognize the players who are getting it right. We invite you to visit AdAge.com/MVAs for information on entering through our simple online submission process. (The original deadline of Sept. 27 has been extended to Oct. 8.)
The winners in the various categories will be honored at Advertising Age's Media 2011 conference in New York on Nov. 30, and will be featured in Advertising Age, both print and online, that week. Our hope is that our chronicle of the winners' circle -- covering a wide range of morphing and converging media, including websites, social media, blogs, mobile and iPad apps, web video, audio, etc. -- will serve as an essential and inspiring compendium of media innovation circa 2010.
Let the competition begin!
Editor, Advertising Age
Executive Director, MVAs