I read a lot about new media, journalism, publishing, news, etc. I always try to think about the things I read from both a global and a local perspective. Here are some thoughts on the things I’ve read recently.
I’m not so sure journalism is storytelling anymore.
Jeff points out that saying “journalism = storytelling” is limiting. Journalism is about more than the story, it’s a process. I agree completely. Data, algorithms, aggregators – all are aspects of journalism. They always have been, of course, but their importance/visibility has been heightened lately, thanks to new tools and technologies.
Time Warner’s CNN is taking a stake in hyperlocal aggregator Outside.in—the latest example of a big media organization making a play in the hyperlocal space.
Smart move, just like MSNBC’s purchase of EveryBlock. And the news today that Google is in talks to buy Yelp. The dollars are starting to flow toward local/hyperlocal news companies. You know how the saying goes: follow the money.
So what really scares me? It’s the rise of cheap, disposable content on a mass scale, force fed to us by the portals and search engines.
In my view both writers and readers of content will need to work harder to get quality content. Right now ‘quantity’ still rules on the Web, ‘quality’ is hard to find.
Lots of others have already discussed the “content farm” issue that made the rounds in the blogosphere last week. My view on it is pretty simple: readers need to become more active. There’s so much information so easily available that you can’t afford to passively consume the news. You have to seek out sources and recommendations. Certainly we’ll get better tools (aggregators, filters, search engines) but I think readers need to make more of an effort. See also: Content farms v. curating farmers.
…one of the things up for grabs in the current news environment is the nature of authority. In particular, I noted that people trust new classes of aggregators and filters, whether Google or Twitter or Wikipedia (in its ‘breaking news’ mode.)
I called this tendency algorithmic authority.
Fascinating. I think there’s incredible opportunity, both globally and locally, to take advantage of this. Who do you trust for your news? Is it the same people/organizations that you trusted five years ago?
Ken Auletta from the New Yorker wrote a book about Google, “Googled: The End of the World as We Know It” and before he published it, he cut the last chapter of 25 media maxims.
Now you can read them online. A few of my favorites:
- Passion Wins
- Adapt or Die
- Digital is Different
- Don’t Ignore the Human Factor
And finally, one of my favorite new tools: Times Skimmer. We need more innovation like that at the local level!