Greg Mitchell and the rise of digital Media

By Elyse Breeze @ezeerbesyle

Traditional journalists must now contend with web-based rivals. From reporter to social media guru, Greg Mitchell has experienced one of the most prevalent deviations in journalistic history: The transition from print to digital.

Digital media has made it possible for newsworthy information to be at our fingertips at all times. From the newest generation of the iPhone to our laptops, media has become ubiquitous. The trends are clear: young people are turning to the Internet for their news and developing their own digital strategies.

“I knew from the age of, like, four that I wanted to be a newspaper reporter… I was a big Superman fan; but I was the only kid who wanted to grow up to be Clark Kent,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell’s journalism career began at St. Bonaventure University when he graduated cum laude in 1970. The esteemed grad hit the ground running when he landed a job with Crawdaddy! Magazine – the pioneer of rock and roll journalism. Among the latest and greatest of Crawdaddy! scoop, the profile of rock music legend Bruce Springsteen before his major debut, co-authored by Mitchell alongside Peter Knobler in 1972, is one of the most impressive.

Since then, he has worked with news sources such as: Nuclear Times, Feature, Editor & Publisher, Huffington Post and currently The Nation. He has written dozens of books, manages a successful blog and continues to be an icon in the world of journalism.

According to Mitchell, news sources began transitioning their information from print to digital as early as the mid-1990s. “[They] were kind of dragging their feet… they were just hoping that this was kind of a fad.”

Traditional newspapers didn’t want to put too much emphasis on the web for the fear that it would eventually fade out. Online revenues for most news media are still only a small fraction of the income from traditional print or broadcast; however, the rates are increasing as young people continue to retrieve their news via the Internet.

As news sources continue to transition from print to digital, the rest of the world is doing the same. Staying connected through digital communication, social media and technology has become integral in our world, especially for young people. Mitchell, however, a “digital immigrant,” has become accustomed to digital forms of media just the same as “digital natives.”

Mitchell’s impressive blog on Blogspot “Pressing Issues” is a great indication of his digital brand, including his Twitter follower count of just over 27,000. In developing his digital brand, he created a blog that focused on his interpretation of the media in topics such as politics, film, music and television.

“I wanted something that was totally my own,” Mitchell said. “If you’re going to have a blog, you need to figure out what your passion is.”

“You tweet it; you try to get others to link to your stuff. You write something original that’s kind of provocative and next thing you know some big, national site links to you. Overnight, you go from unknown to [people] bookmarking your blog,” Mitchell advises for students interested in pursuing digital media, especially in strategic communication.

Mitchell’s experience in the transition between traditional print journalism to digital media marketing is admirable, to say the least. He has utilized his skills as a reporter to develop his own digital brand using social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Blogspot. As our world continues in shifting prospective, as digital natives, we are expected to adhere to the transition. While print journalism has not become obsolete, we were born prepared for its downfall.

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