Fear of the unknown

Fear of the unknown.
I had the pleasure of being on a panel this morning in Nashville discussing changes in the media landscape with an audience of Public Relations people. The event was sponsored by the Nashville (regional) office of Business Wire.

I shared the panel with two wonderful colleagues, Bill Hobbs, a New Media consultant like myself. Bill’s also a current events blogger, specializing in the blogosphere itself. He’s well respected and connected, and I was glad for the opportunity to get to known him. Also on the panel was Catherine Mayhew, executive editor of The Nashville City Paper, the Nashville daily newspaper with demos to die for. (Hint: it’s a FREE paper.)

There’s a great deal of (justifiable) fear that traditional media types have when it comes to the changing media landscape, and it’s often expressed in defensive comments and questions. After all, who wants to have their fatted calf whacked? This morning we heard about the reliability of the information provided by citizen journalists (bloggers), credentials, the lack of a valid business model for the “new” media, and privacy issues regarding the idea that any neighbor could be a citizen reporter in disguise. Good questions all, and there was also a genuine sense of wonder expressed about the sweeping changes and the bigness of it all. The best question was from a gal who asked for guidance on where to begin to develop an understanding. Ultimately, knowledge is the best way to overcome fear of the unknown, and discussions like this morning’s are an excellent first step in that direction.

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