Doing Media Differently: Gigaom’s Mathew Ingram says to embrace new media

This article was originally published in Hamilton Media Guild, February 10, 2014.

Mathew Ingram has been interested in technology since he got his first computer in the early ’90s.

“I remember seeing the graphical web for the first time. When I saw Mosaic [which was the first web browser] I thought: ‘This is just incredible, and it changes everything’” says Ingram, a senior writer for U.S. top technology website, Gigaom.

During the infamous Canadian criminal trial of Paul Bernardo in 1992, the court issued a publication ban, restricting the media from publishing details of the killing. But because American media wasn’t subject to the publication ban over the border, Ingram was able to learn more about the case via the Internet.

A light bulb went on.

“This [the internet] is going to change the way media works and journalism works,” says Ingram.

When the Globe and Mail launched its digital website in 1995, Ingram, who was a business columnist, became interested in the intersection of the web and technology.

Working for the Globe and Mail online site, he started writing more about technology and less about the stock market.

“The thing that fascinates me isn’t about tech per se. But what it does to us, our behaviours,” says Ingram, who became Globe and Mail’s first communities editor. In that role Ingram taught journalists how to embrace and use social media tools to engage with different audiences. He also launched the Globe’s Public Policy Wiki, combining a publicly editable wiki tool with public discussion forums and voting features.

Drawing from more than 15 years of experience writing about business, technology and web, Ingram spoke at the first TEDx Toronto, asking news organizations to take new media seriously.

“Working online can give you connection with audience that is fundamentally better. You become a better journalist.”

Ingram co-founded mesh in 2006, an annual web conference to discuss web trends, marketing, business and more.

The future of the news business is digital, says Ingram. Gigaom’s revenue has grown from $2 million when it launched in 2006 to $15 million in 2012. It has more than 6.5 million monthly unique visitors and has expanded to offer business conferences and propriety research.

For Ingram, this reflects the power of blogging and writing online.

“It is just you and whoever that reads it.”