Are Days Numbered for Large News Organizations?

by Dan Blank on October 14, 2006

Are Days Numbered for Large News Organizations?

Jeff Jarvis reports from a conference on “the future of news.” As he reviews the viewpoints of several speakers, he laments:

“I’m sorry that we’re separating “traditional” and “new” news. That, itself, is much of the problem today.”

This seems to be a common theme, but Jeff points out the single factor that levels the playing field:

Bill Marimow, ex-head of NPR news and now its ombudsman (as of this morning’s news), argues that what bloggers write is not subjected to the same scrutiny as his reporters’ work; I’d say we are all subjectd to the same scrutiny: that of the public.

Dave Winer joins the conversation with this statement:

“In ten years news will be gathered by all of us. The editorial decisions will be made collectively, and there will be people whose taste we trust who we will turn to to tell us which stories to pay attention to. Instead of three of these, there will be thousands if not tens of thousands. One for every political persuasion, one for every mood, demographic, age range, maybe even by geography. The role of gatekeeper will be distributed, as will the role of reporter. Very few people, if any, will earn a living doing this, much as most of us don’t earn a living by cooking dinner, but we do it anyway, cause you gotta eat.”

Haydn Shaughnessy makes another interesting statement regarding the future of news:

“If the clichés of objectivity from the news days are replaced by clichés about conversation then we’ve swapped the tyranny of one culture’s complacency with that of another.”

As for the solution:

“Where one-click publishing gets really interesting is the day journalists and bloggers band together and set up their own enterprises selling their own advertising… building audiences for novel points of view. It starts to work when we create new publications that reflect a strong point of view. Let me put that another way – when we stop expressing a point of view about journalism and blogging and start expressing a point of view about life. That’s really the missing element, isn’t it – a novel way of looking at troubled times.”

Joe Duck adds his point of view:

“News organizations”, even at their best, reflect a highly commercialized, narrow focus on events of usually superficial and passing interest. More time’s been given to the Yankee pitcher plane crash than, say, the recent study suggesting an enormous death toll in Iraq or developments in Darfur.”

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