Political Blogs, News & Views

« | »

What Is News, Today and Tomorrow…

Almost forever it seems now we’ve been listening to cries and complaints from major news groups and publications over how the open nature of the Internet is killing them. Actually, it’s killing their fiscal bottom lines, but accuracy isn’t something many news groups are known for these days.

Skid... er, News Row

Skid... er, News Row

One after another print news publications have closed their doors, thanking their readers for their devotion during “such a fine run”… then in the same breath cursing their readers too–as they pointed fingers at Internet blogs, Google and newsfeed aggregation; because what they weren’t “getting” is that it was their readers using those platforms to access the news on their own terms.

And through all of this we keep hearing the warnings of journalists and large media group supporters, warnings like “they’ll be sorry when there’s nobody left to cover the stories”… well, that might be true in a world where only journalists and hired researchers could find facts and evidence–oh, and where the common peons never talked with one another.

Fortunately, we’ve never lived in a world like that. On the contrary, we live in a world where access to the news makers is constantly growing for all. Where someone in almost every crowd has a digital camera with video capabilities on their cell phone. And where Joe Poopscoop can tell his account of an event he witnessed and have it spread to the masses who might be interested in seconds.

Isn’t that news? When there is a fire 3 blocks from my home I usually know all about it from friends and neighbors, either by phone call or from their Twitter streams, long before the 6 o’clock local news broadcast, and a full day before the city paper prints their account of it… sure, reporters will likely dig deeper and ask more questions of the police and fire departments about the specifics of the fire, but imagine if they didn’t do that or weren’t around to do it–what would happen?

I believe the people who were on the scene to witness the fire might ask those questions then, knowing that nobody else would be and because their own curiosity would combine with realizing that their Twitter friends and blog readers would also be curious.

Or someone like myself, who didn’t witness the fire but heard of it from a neighbor, if I was curious enough or felt my blog readers would care to know, would just make the calls and ask the “who, what, where, when, why and how” questions.

News isn’t something that only a select few, with proper training can research and share.

Certainly professional journalists and reporters will usually do a better job than the average person, or at least a more professional job then Joe Poopscoop–but if the majority of people who care about the specific story are as pleased with Poopscoop’s account as they would be with the professional’s–and they can get it faster and in the format that they want it–then what have they lost?

What about that special access that only credentialed journalists get to some people or events?

That’s a great question that I’ve heard over and over, but it’s also a bit of a non-starter to me. There is a perceived conflict of interests associated with that access in the minds of most people with regards to the relationships between news reporters and news makers. It doesn’t matter whether that conflict is real or not, the fact is news consumers have a lack of trust in the reporters and their reports that come from those cozy relationships.

That’s evidenced in part by the fact that Jon Stewart of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” was recently selected as the most trusted newscaster in America.

And when the court jester becomes the most trusted newscaster, something is really wrong with the Fourth Estate, and that’s not something that can be blamed on the Internet or any outside source. That’s a rot that grew from the inside.

But there is a positive in all of this for news and media groups, and some have already realized it and began modeling for it.

Yesteryear, when they held an almost exclusive distribution for news with their audiences, news producers tried to be all things to their market. They covered everything from the local Hatfields vs. McCoys neighborhood feuds to International matters, sports and weather, entertainment and style.

Today, people don’t want–or need–that Jack-of-all-trades coverage. Thanks to more open access, news consumers can go to one specialty source for their sports, another for their International coverage, another for their weather and so on. And, they can gather all of this tightly focused coverage into a single place through newsfeeds and aggregation to get what they want, when and how they want it.

Those news and media groups which have recognized this and begun to focus on very narrow specialties to become the “go to” source in their coverage field, appear to be doing okay while others who try to hold on to the ways of the past continue to struggle and die off.

There is, and probably always will be, a place and need for professional journalism no matter how much open access Joe Poopscoop acquires, but it’s not with organizations that continue to crave that old-school exclusivity of distribution, it’s going to be with organizations that focus on narrow fields of coverage and who are willing to make their product available to consumers in the places and formats that they desire.

Image source: polymeme.com

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Technorati Tags: internet, Media, news

Related Writings

Posted by Scott Bannon on July 29, 2009.

Tags: , ,


« | »

Recent Posts


About Political Blogs, News & Views

buxtohispano.com serves as an outlet for the political and social opinions of all who participate here. Every effort is made to keep the discussions civil and family friendly. This site will not be a shout-fest arena for anyone. We understand that passions can run high when debating important issues and questions that affect the lives [...]more →