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Letter from the Editor: Every little thing modified in a decade – besides our dedication to information you may … – jj

Letter from the Editor: Every little thing modified in a decade – besides our dedication to information you may …


Do you remember what you were doing 10 years ago today? Or, more to the point, HOW you were doing it?

What woke you up, where you got your news to start the day, how you got directions to a store you hadn’t been to before, how you contacted your friends, ordered lunch or stayed in touch with your family throughout the day?

I didn’t have a smartphone 10 years ago. I’m guessing there’s a good chance that you didn’t, either. How we lived before that has become an exercise in nostalgic musings.

From the introduction of the Apple iPhone in 2007 until the end of 2009, 400 million smartphones of all make were sold worldwide. That sounds like a lot, but it was just the first rumble of a coming tsunami.

In the decade that ended Tuesday, more than 11 BILLION smartphones entered our hands, homes and lives around the globe. Views of MLive stories via phones was a rounding error in our total readership number 10 years ago; in 2019, more than 70 percent of all MLive story views came from mobile devices.

Just like in your personal life, everything has changed for us.

I like to talk to you every week about our industry, our people and our work, and why and how we pursue it. These past 10 years have been the most disruptive in the history of communications and journalism – not just technology and the means to publish, be read and shared. But how news is defined, how it is accepted and trusted, and even manipulated.

These tectonic shifts have not only challenged and stressed the media industry; they have caused upheaval in society, culture, politics and governance. The same revolution that gave you free, one-day shipping and Uber rides also gave us Russian troll farms and government by tweet.

Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple have changed media in ways that we could not have conceived 10 years ago. MLive and its journalists have evolved as well, expanding our storytelling into video, audio, and social media, and using analytics to understand what you, the reader, tells us you want and need to make sense of life.

But in a decade of warp-speed change, what has not changed is our mission, and role in our communities and state: To tell you what happened, with the highest journalistic standards. To explain complicated issues, so you’re informed and prepared for what is going to happen. To understand our communities, and highlight their challenges and successes.

Smartphones are tools, they’re not a compass. Alexa can answer trivia questions or start your car, but it can’t tell you how to think. You need reliable, trusted and current sources of information to make sound decisions and feel secure in this crazy world – and that’s no different than 10 years ago, or 100.

I’m happy and proud that MLive and its journalists are still in that fight, and I believe that our work still has the power to connect us in ways that social media can’t, and that the tech giants won’t. That connection wouldn’t exist without our readers, so know that I appreciate all of you.

Here we are – 2020. I’m guessing the world won’t slow down and life won’t become less complicated. But we’ll stick to the journalistic fundamentals, you stick with us, and we’ll make sense of the craziness together.

To get MLive news reports on your connected smart device – Alexa or Google Home – simply ask for “Michigan News from MLive.” To share ideas or suggestions with VP of Content John Hiner, email editor@mlive.com.

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