Attention NRA: Let’s Understand Something

New Media ≠ Old Radio

Let’s consider the Wikipedia definition:

New media is a term meant to encompass the emergence of digital, computerized, or networked information and communication technologies in the later part of the 20th century.Most technologies described as “new media” are digital, often having characteristics of being manipulable, networkable, dense, compressible, and impartial.

Although, from the sounds of it, since you don’t know what new media is, you probably don’t know what a crowdsourcing project like Wikipedia is.

Let’s establish that “Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, among others” are not new media. That’s old media. In the case of some of them, pretty damn old media.

Seriously, NRA, what the hell are you thinking referring to Rush as “new media” multiple times?!? Just because an old media broadcaster favors your position doesn’t make them part of the new media movement. (NRA’s definition apparently includes any conservative voice, especially if it’s on old radio waves.)

I clicked on this article because tonight’s email alert featured a description about how new media would be under constant threat in the Obama Administration. That definitely got my interest because that would lead educated, tech savvy folks to assume that NRA sees serious value in new media and is going to help look out for our interests when they cross paths with the organization’s core mission. Exciting, right?

This appears to be a piece sent out through Publications, not ILA, the division most bloggers (*ahem* new media producers) work with in the organization. It’s such a disappointment because since I’m meeting with NRA staff in January to discuss the second annual new media outreach event, I would have assumed that most of their divisions “got it” or were “hip to the lingo” by now. Apparently, we still have a long way to go if Rush is considered a new media leader for having an old media radio show. Now I just have to hope that none of the new bloggers, podcasters, and other new media producers I have on my outreach list actually bother reading the column from Wayne. If they do, then I’ll try to embarrassingly cover for them and just say it’s apparently one clueless division that doesn’t get it yet. I mean, come on, the guy has had the same talk show since 1988. There’s nothing new about it.

UPDATE: Oh, the sheer irony of it! Guess what they link to in the same email alert? A blog. Specifically, The Volokh Conspiracy. In case you can’t imagine it, I’ll describe my reaction as something like rolled eyes. And a loud sigh.

UPDATE II: There was a misunderstanding that some thought I believed the email to come from Publications, I did not.  I believed the column itself was written by Pubs and then sent out in the usual Grassroots email.  However, I have since had it clarified that Publications had no part in writing the column.  I apologize for the misunderstanding.  Based on what I did know and also the standard practices I’m aware of in the corporate world, this would be the case.  It’s not at NRA.

The premise that some office at NRA has someone who thinks a 102-year-old technology is somehow “new media” is still a very big problem.  It’s something that still needs to be addressed.  I am just happy to report that it turns out we know it’s not Publications.

6 thoughts on “Attention NRA: Let’s Understand Something”

  1. That’s exactly what I’m tryin’ to do. I hate calling it out in some ways because I know the staff who read this site aren’t the ones responsible. However, as many excuses as we try to make for them here in the blogosphere to explain different divisions, leadership, and other bureaucratic crap, a basic understanding of new media is not too much to ask for one of their writers. Unless the person who penned this for Wayne (I’m assuming he doesn’t have time to write his own columns, most CEOs don’t.) is 120, the radio is not “new media.”

  2. I received an email with an argument that though broadcast radio is not new media, the presence of conservative commentary on it is compared to the history without it. I think there is some merit to that argument, but I did argue back for why I think we just need to move on anyway and drop that perception: (modified slightly)

    I would say probably half of the folks at the first Blog Bash were under 15 when Rush made his first conservative editorial broadcast. The youngest was 3 2. I wouldn’t be shocked if this year we have a couple of folks who were either in diapers or weren’t yet born when Rush started his political show. I think this is incredibly important when I hear that NRA is trying to actively recruit younger members.

    Because most of the members don’t understand the internal structure of NRA, if one office looks clueless, it could hurt the initiatives of another. I know this one column isn’t exactly going to scuttle an entire outreach effort to younger crowds, but if whoever wrote this consistently appears to be out-of-touch, then there’s a bigger problem.

  3. Radio, even talk radio, isn’t new media.

    Talk radio is still broadcast, with high capital costs, limited availability and, most important, the advertisers are the market, not the listeners.

    New Media is almost the exact opposite. Low to non-existant startup costs, ubiquitious availability and the market is the readers/listeners.

    The defining charicteristic of New Media is the instantanious feedback loop. Many old media organs have attempted New Media and failed because they ignore the feedback that makes New Media work so well.

    That’s where the NRA drops the ball often, in the feedback loop. They still have an old media mindset, even when trying New Media.

  4. This story was so good I had to send it out over twitter. Twitter, podcasting, blogging, & friendfeed and many others are considered new media and are all very social. I definitely do not consider terrestrial radio new-media.

    The Gun Rights Radio Network is new media.

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