In light of Yahoo's recent acquisition of Associated Content, Matt Heist, CEO of High Gear Media, offers advice to how media providers like Associated Content should progress into the future. On the one hand, Heist says, there are "premium content" providers like Yahoo and AOL that provide "high-end sales appeal." On the other, there are "pro-am" media sources, like Associated Content and AOL's Seed, which reap much of their news from non-journalistic sources. Heist believes that media sources like Associated Content have a great deal of promise, but will need to make a few changes in order to fully realize their potential in the future.
At the moment, Heist claims, Associated Content is not perceived as delivering a high quality experience and is thus restricted from any real growth. Yet Heist suggests that Associated Content could overcome such a restriction by recruiting contributors who have real expertise in specific areas, rather than contributors who have limited knowledge of multiple topics. Clearly, such a move would allow AC to gain an air or legitimacy that is typically associated with more traditional news sources.
Moreover, Heist also suggests that publishers allow for contributors to develop a personal voice. He believes that allowing contributors "to shine" will "create more engaging social environments." Indeed, Heist makes a good point. Media platforms that stifle the personal voice of contributors put themselves at risk of becoming boring, or even inaccessible, to their readers. Instead of appearing like a traditional news source, media platforms lacking in individual voices would read more like a Wikipedia page than a newspaper. If contributors are allowed a personal voice, then readers could find writers that share their interests and point of view and follow them, rather than having to sift though dozens of other articles that they would find less interesting or be unwilling to read.
At any rate, Heist's suggestions to media sources like Associated Content are interesting and, if heeded, could lead to AC's (and other similar media sources) acquiring a stronger presence in online media. It will be interesting to see how the relationship between pro-am news sources and more traditional online media plays out in the future, particularly that between Yahoo and Associated Content. Pro-am news sources certainly have a great deal of potential, however the future of such media sources will be determined by the choices they are making now.
Sources: Paid Content