The Back End’s the Thing

Here is the latest in my ongoing series of essays about reinventing local media, The Back End’s the Thing.

Media companies are all about how and where our products and services interact with people. For TV stations, it’s what’s on the air that matters. For newspapers, it’s what’s on the printed page. This is the world we know, for our industries touch people through our finished products.

In the post-media world (Jeff Jarvis term), however, this idea is turned on its head, because the “touching” that matters is hidden. The back end, where what we do connects with the Web, is what’s most important in a networked world. Wired’s Kevin Kelly wrote years ago that “We Are The Web,” and this is a complex and vastly important axiom. It’s one that media companies struggle with, because in the old world, we were judged by what was up front. We can play in both worlds, if we wish, but without significant attention to this hidden connection, we’ll slowly (perhaps quickly) lose relevance in the world that has come upon us.

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