The Message Is the Medium

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As a journalism and media student in the early 1970s, I was exposed to what was just then emerging as an entirely new way of aligning the creators of information with those who were hungry to receive it. The selection and nurturing of the media outlets and conduits of critically important information into highly tailored segments were then brand new. Cable was the new kid on the block, and its potential was only beginning to rise to the surface in commercially viable outlets. Media philosopher Marshall McLuhan (1911–1980) coined the term global village, and he envisioned a day when media would truly divide along active and passive lines of communication. What he saw was true media/message convergence (hence his statement that the medium is the message), and it truly has arrived, bearing the distinctive signs of his vision from many years ago. Among the historical case studies that the media experts analyzed then was the development in the early 1950s of television. Prior to television, radio was king, and the pundits at the time not only extolled the virtues of this fascinating new medium that added pictures to the voices, but also predicted that radio was, in fact, dead. An interesting thing happened on the road to radio’s demise, though. Radio did more than fail to die with the advent of television; it thrived. Today, it is one of the hottest media alternatives available to marketers of goods and services all across the country. It is a very important part of the media mix because it offers a unique approach. The current debate among the media watchers who are predicting the death of print (while they extol the virtues of online media) is giving me a strange sense of déjà vu from nearly 40 years ago. Make no mistake: We here at imagingBiz have bet on the online-media phenomenon in a big way. We have developed several online publications that have found their way into the hospital executive suites, private radiology practices, and imaging centers where all of you work. They are now part of the fabric of the profession, and they offer alternative content delivery to those who need in-depth, credible information with which to run the practice, center, or hospital. You can now receive imagingBiz/RBJ content via portal, blog, Facebook, Twitter, or RSS feed. We believe strongly, however, in the value of print as a continuing medium that is unique in its ability to add a certain tactile quality to the absorption of the content that we develop. We are writers and content developers with a very long track record of creating unique material based on our knowledge of, and involvement with, the profession of radiology. This distinguishes us in ways that make us much more interested in what we say than in how we deliver it. It is important for us to be able to develop both online and print content, and we look to the expansion of the media mix as part of a natural maturation of media and our true global village. You have told us how much you appreciate the fact that we bring you high-level content in a variety of formats, including the journal that you hold in your hands. You have noticed that we have invested in highly opaque, bright paper stock, and that we support the thoughtful articles with top-level graphics and design. It has also been gratifying to hear from you about the depth and breadth of our editorial content, which is the result of our very active participation in the profession on a number of levels. We are heavily invested in the industry, which allows us to showcase very real and relevant topics that reflect the essence of the issues that you deal with each day, providing guidance, an exchange of ideas, best practices, and leadership. Rest assured that we will continue to invest in bringing you these important topics and discussions in every media format available, including the all-important print version. Based on my nearly 40 years of experience as a student of media, I feel that it’s safe to say that print is more than here to stay: Readers will continue to rediscover its unique qualities and will hail its rightful place of influence in the pantheon of information-delivery alternatives. We are thankful that our terrific sponsors agree with us, as you can see from our growing list of advertisers. Not only are we here to stay, but we have been working on turning the vision of media convergence into a reality that will bring you the information that you need in order to compete effectively, and win, in a new and complex arena. We are with you all the way, online and (not incidentally) prominently in print as well. Curtis Kauffman-Pickelle is publisher of imagingBiz.com and Radiology Business Journal, and is a 30-year veteran of the medical-imaging industry. He facilitates strategic-planning retreats for radiology groups.