Sometimes in these later years of life, I’m brought up short by something that’s changed in my personal habits while I’ve paid little attention to it. Often, abruptness of the realization is prompted by something totally unrelated. It’s happened again.

I’m a child of the media. Started early and spent most of my years in one or the other of its various forms. Newspapers and radio. Later, television. Each with a different function. Each adding to my daily store of knowledge. Traditional.

Then, this week, a bit of news out of Sun Valley, Idaho, was the fuse to let me know something else had changed. And me along with it.

The Sun Valley Marketing Alliance, in the business of promoting the whole world famous resort area, intends spending $800,000 this year doing so. And, starting now, not one red cent on anything but … the Internet! No more travel magazines, TV ads, newspaper spreads in those large eastern markets. Further, while new to me in a marketing sense, it’s been done before. By the good folks at Vail, Colorado, for example, who earlier abandoned print and other outlets to go with … the Internet.

Sun Valley intends to market “snow porn” as Vail now does. That’s a marketing phrase I’ll bet you haven’t heard. Internet videos of really great snowboarders and skiers pounding their way off snow covered cliffs, pushing hip deep in powder or running large halfpipes. Pictures to get your ski pulse pounding and your wallet open.

The news really surprised me. The advertising portion of my media background taught me most successful campaigns were “targeted.” That meant finding out who your audience was, where they were and how they got their information. In most cases, that meant apportioning your resources to more than one form of media.

So, learning these two major international advertisers, among others, were ignoring that tradition and putting all their media eggs in one basket surprised me. Then that sudden aforementioned realization of change in my own life hit: my media information habits had been shifting all along and I was not really conscious of it. I, too, had begun getting nearly all of my daily information from … the Internet.

We live in a small Southwest Oregon town with a poorly crafted and badly outdated local newspaper. There’s no other delivered in a timely manner from outside the area to stay on top of local things. Radio news here, too, is incomplete, focusing on the “low hanging fruit” of daily police logs and is so poorly staffed there’s almost no enterprising or “beat” reporting. Reads the wire service, reads the newspaper and regurgitates. Local TV much the same. With pictures. Sometimes.

National television news is so loaded with celebrity-chasing and “infotainment” features … or reporters interviewing each other and the “experts” … that it’s often hard to find the “red meat” of good reporting on serious issues. News networks have cut staffs and bureaus and are repeating both newscasts and features ad nauseam.

So, I started looking to other places for a primary news source. But I hadn’t realized it as “life changing.” It was just another way to get information. Where the Oregonian or the Idaho Statesman or the Washington Post used to go with the morning coffee, now it’s the electronic Huffington Post or the New York Times or the Washington Post … on the ‘Net. All delivered in a timely manner and still staffed with top notch reporting of real news.

With a paucity of local news in a community of 20,000 or so, over a period of time, I had completely changed my news inputs from the old traditional to … the ‘Net.

I know it may not sound like much. But after a lifetime of learning to do things in certain ways, the sudden knowledge that you’ve morphed an important part of that life into a completely different form is personally surprising. Even the use of the word “morphed” in my senior lexicon. When did I start using that?

All traditional media is losing ground to the Internet. Advertising dollars and readership numbers are down … way down. That will continue. Media forms that don’t make the transition will disappear. Those that do will look … and sound … a lot different. That’s a high price to pay for progress. But that’s progress.

I’m going to follow the Sun Valley decision. It’s a sizeable gamble. It’s turning your back on traditional ways and jumping with both feet into the new.

I didn’t exactly jump. More like sorta pushed!

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