Plan B Week, Day 3: Surviving the Media Meltdown

Rethinking Your Role in the Media Economy: The Conversation Continues

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It's Day 3 of Plan B Week. Each day this week we're running reader responses to my recent "Media Guy" column titled "Topic A in Rapidly Shrinking Medialand: What's Your Plan B?" in which I wrote about soul-searching in the media business in the wake of massive restructuring and layoffs. (The first batch of responses appeared here, as well as in the print edition of Advertising Age; the second batch appeared here.)

Shark Week
Photo: Discovery Channel
ROUGH WATERS: It's Plan B Week -- sort of like Shark Week, but with (slightly) less gore.
Surviving the Media Meltdown:
Plan B Week: Day 1

Darcy Leslie Parsons, executive producer at Brewster Parsons in Venice, Calif., writes, "As the world is changing and transforming around us, we are being called upon to reinvent ourselves. I, too, love 'my people' in the media world, and I have to say my Plan B is my Plan A. We have a very small creative company, and we have been keeping our costs down and helping our clients in whatever way we can as we go through this time of change. It feels to me like creativity is the answer to all this. And keeping a positive frame of mind about ourselves and our ability to contribute and, yes, bring the hope back to our culture. Someone has to do it, and our community is filled with the most creative and hopeful people out there. At some point the tide will change, and the more we each do our part to focus on the best outcome of all of this, the sooner it will shift. I feel like I am building new strength. ... We all have to develop new muscle to find our way through this time."

Joanne Froh of Milestone Media writes, "How about being in the ad community and in Detroit? Talk about a double whammy. We're so far gone here we can't even see the floor from the bottom looking up. What used to be a thriving industry -- marketing the domestic automotives and managing their mega-million-dollar media budgets -- is gone, gone, gone. Those of us left standing know it's the end and that the life we knew -- our livelihood, social network and, yes, the immense joy we found in our profession -- is never coming back."

Jason Damata, CEO of Fabric Media of Denver writes, "The media isn't dying; it's mid-cocoon. As you point out, the economies of creating and delivering content are changing rapidly. While this can be a freaky feeling, it's a great opportunity for brands, personalities and journalists who are passionate and knowledgeable to leverage their expertise to create content and make money. Those who are able to leverage their passions and knowledge can now escape the barriers of old media and outflank the slow-moving ships.

"I am optimistic because the fat and inefficiencies in the media and PR marketplace represent opportunities for those who work hard, think different and charge less. ...

"The people who bemoan the erosion of the Fourth Estate may just be overlooking how the Fourth Estate is changing from conglomerate-owned to people-driven. I am sad for those who have been journalists for many years and don't have the drive to change or rethink their identity. They will be hurt, and their talents may get drowned in the sea of fragmented voices. However, for those who are willing to embrace the new economics of the marketplace of ideas and their new place in it, I think the world is opening up in exciting ways."

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