Traditional Media is Dead?
Anyone who thinks traditional print media is dead and no longer drives the news agenda may have been given pause for thought this week.
Last Sunday the Sunday Independent published an article by Niamh Horan in which Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulhearn stated she would be querying state funding for a teenage advice website spunout.ie. The website included advice to teenagers on engaging in a ‘threesome’.
The article immediately created a furore on twitter with many tweeting support for spunout.ie, a website which according to its homepage “ provides young people between the ages of 16 and 25 with the information and skills to deal with the difficult things life throws at us and lends a megaphone for our voices to be heard to change our own lives and the world”.
I had never heard of spunout.ie and there may be many more like me. The website had over 14,000 hits following the publication of the Sunday Independent story an massive spike in their website traffic as shown in the graph tweeted by @damienmulley among others.
The story quickly garnered attention across media outlets, featuring on Joe Duffy’s Liveline; newstalk and todayfm; opinion columns in the Irish Examiner and Irish Independent to name but a few.
Within 24 hours the Minister for Health has announced a review of the state funding provided to spunout.ie and the controversy has continued throughout the week, up to and including today (Thursday, March 28th) with a letter from Ruairi McKiernan, one of the founders of spunout.ie published in the Irish Independent.
Another very interesting feature of this week’s saga is that this article was on the spunout website for three years but it took ‘old media’ to bring it to the public’s attention.
As PR and media people we can all get caught up in the hype of social media and prematurely bemoan the death of newspapers. It is commonplace to overhear conversations in the office where colleagues are commenting that an article in the morning newspaper had been ‘all over’ twitter the night before.
The spunout saga is a reminder that print media still is an important influencer and has a role to play in the news cycle.