At an undisclosed location, somewhere in the United States, a public relations man is chronicling the demise of the media as we know it—and he’s doing it in short bursts of 140 characters or less.
If you are a journalist or media organization who is not on Twitter, you should be. And once you’re there, you should subscribe to the daily beating that is a Twitter feed called themediaisdying.
There you’ll find the rat-a-tat-tat of daily media executions. Here’s a sampling of the devastation:
VIBE has lost an associate music editor, Shanel Odum.
MAD MAGAZINE is going quarterly
VARIETY could have cuts this week
The February WIRED is only 113 pages, of which only 31.5 are ad pages - not the usual 1:1 ratio.
It is brutal, but that is not its founder’s intention. “It started as a closed group of our eight founders,” the anonymous ringleader of themediaisdying (lets call him Mr. Dying) tells Utne Reader. Each of the eight founders are employed in the public relations industry—either in-house or on a freelance basis. The Twitter account was mostly a way to keep track of their clients (and potential clients) in the print media industry. “But the point of Twitter is to be open, right? So we opened it up.” The open account launched on December 19 with this posting: "RUMOR: LA TIMES is considering getting rid of its national and foreign bureaus. Can anyone confirm?”
Today themediaisdying has more than 10,000 followers and gets upwards of 75 tips a day. A tip could take the form of a leaked memo or it could be an e-mail that simply reads: “Hey, I just got fired.”
“I’m spending about 90 minutes a day on Twittering and following up on leads,” says Mr. Dying, who resents the characterization that he and his comrades somehow relish in the demise they are chronicling. “It’s tragic!”
What’s more, the people behind themediaisdying most definitely have something to lose if their identities are revealed. “There would be adverse effects if we were to be exposed—and I put that in big quotes. We still have to work with the media.”