Thursday, May 20, 2010

Looking Back at an Amazing Media Decade

It’s official – we just finished the most amazing decade in history, in terms of dramatic changes in communications.

The Poynter Institute in Florida tracks media milestones. And it has made it easy for us to look back at the past 10 years – from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2009 – and clock our speed as we hurtle into the digital world ahead. It has identified 200 milestones in that period that it describes as “moments that transformed journalism.” And it has presented them in a scroll-across graphic that reveals surprise after surprise. We forget how fast we're moving.

The decade began with the merger of AOL and Time-Warner – which we can now see as a painful lesson about how much smarter the digital guys are than the “dead-tree” media. Then one historic development after another emerges, including:

- Internet newspaper subscribers overtake print subscribers (in 2000!)
- IPOD is introduced (2001)
- Google News launched (2002)
- ITunes and Skype begin service (2003)
- YouTube launched – and cell phones help report on London subway bombing (2005)
- The first tweets and newspaper-published blogs (2006)
- IPhones, Kindle and first online-only presidential debate (2007)
- New York Times and AP release IPhone app, and White House starts a blog (2008)
- Kindle books outsell books in print for Christmas (2009)

And throughout, a steady drumbeat of declining newspaper readership and growth of on-line publications and social media.

Poynter has done us a service by graphically showing us the revolution we’re still living through. Everyone in communications needs to understand it – whether or not we like it.

- Potomac Communications Group

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