Weather information, new media approaches to getting old style info

When I hear the term "new media" I think of cool and interesting, possibly fun and something I want. Interestingly, the term new media is about media that is new today. In the mid 1990's there was a magazine called "NewMedia" which covered all the things happening on the web. At that time, the new media of the day was what ever was on the web. Any web site could claim to be new media. The ability to put up information on a network that allowed anyone in the world to see it was way different than the current media of the time; print, radio, TV.


Think about how you were informed of events in the agriculture industry in the late 1980's or early 1990's: newspapers, magazine, radio, TV. National Association of Farm Broadcasting, Farm Journal, or Feedstuffs anyone? These networks of media brought to you via snail mail or the airwaves info you needed to manage your agribusiness. Piles of papers and audio reports on the hour required you to pick and choose, pull info together, and make sense of it all manually.

As technology advanced, so did the ability of ag information to get to you in a streamlined fashion. Companies like DTN tapped into early electronic networks to bring all the information you needed straight to your computer (everyone remember those Apple II's?). While this still required some personal effort to integrate the information, electronic services started to remove the barrier to information access and understanding. This became the "new media" of the time. The same types of information yet presented and discovered in a whole different manner.

Today the new media has evolved to include finding and delivery of audio and video. While audio and video on the internet has been around since the mid 1990's, the process by which this type of media reached you has changed. No longer do you need to concern yourself with figuring out what to do with the files and how to listen. Service like DirectTV, Tivo and iTunes make obtaining shows like SwineCast or AgToday simple.

New media has also expanded on how information is presented. A great example is weather information: weather reports used to be static; look on the back page of the paper and see the 5 day forecast. Or, tune into a Brownfield Network radio station to get the recent weather report. Now weather reports come in all sorts of flavors, from old school media (the 5 day forecast in the Indianapolis Star still is handy), to the Weather Underground, the Weather Channel, and the US government's Aviation Weather Center. Each of these are pulling from a standard set of data sources and adding new methods for interpreting, understanding, and using weather information.

There are even services that supply, for a fee, weather information to speciality industries in a form that is delivered faster, provides usable analytics, and expert option on actions to take. Planalytics and Weather Services International are two such weather information service companies, offering to the ag industry tools to help make decisions. These methods of discovery, presentation, and understanding are the "new media" today.

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