Ecosystems

For those who found value in yesterday’s media piece, here’s a much, much longer and richer take on the future of news from Steven Berlin Johnson. No, he doesn’t have all of the answers either, but there are a ton of powerful ideas in there that will ultimately help those who do come up with the answers. Among them: an increased focus on the hyper-local, borne of the realization that while we may lament the loss of the city daily because there won’t be a metro section anymore, that metro section never covered what we wanted to see anyway. Neighborhood reporters and bloggers — who will ultimately fit into some form of filtering/aggregation system — will one day make us wonder what we ever did for local news before.

The same goes for sports coverage, I would argue, as team, sport, and subject-specific blogs become increasingly refined, reliable, and findable. The big question — and one near and dear to my heart, of course — is how you compensate people under such a scenario, which I think is pretty essential. Maybe not immediately in that there are and always will be a ton of great amateur blogs out there and some level of amateurism actually ads some depth to the party. But ask yourself: how many good blogs have you seen close shop because the author’s professional or personal life demanded it? I can think of several. Maybe that doesn’t yet matter all that much, but in a brave new world in which people are truly getting their content from multiple sources, won’t we want at least some level of continuity?

Anyway, just one of many things to chew on in Johnson’s piece.


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Joao
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Joao
This is spot on.  When people bemoan that with the death of newspapers you won’t get actual reporting (versus commentary) on the city council meetings, school board, etc, they forget that you barely get any coverage of those issues from your local paper to begin with.  And they also miss the fact that some of the most important work in those areas is already being done by bloggers, not just in terms of commentary but actually attending city council hearings, Metro board hearings, and on and on.  Take a look at the great site Greater Greater Washington, or to a… Read more »
Leo
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Leo
The other key about sports reporting/blogging in the future is the great access debate.  Bloggers like Aaron Gleeman continually argue that access to the clubhouse and locker rooms is unnecessary.  But there is a reason why your commentary differs from the stuff you read in your local paper; one reason is that you don’t have to face the players the next day.  Similarly, underlying the best blogs are reports that come from credentialed journalists who spend their days gathering information from the primary source: players, coaches, managers, trainers, front office staff, etc.  Without those persons with access, a lot of… Read more »
Craig Calcaterra
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Craig Calcaterra
Johnson actually attempts to deal with the problem of who actually gathers the news, and that’s by transforming newspapers from paper-product manufacturing and distribution concerns into news/opinion clearing houses of some sort.  Yes, it’s vague and it will obviously evolve over time, but it’s not a bad idea at first blush. The two central hurdles to get over into the new era are (1) the access problem(i.e. who goes into the locker room to get the quotes) and (2) the usability problem of the blogsophere and other online media sources. What I mean with the latter is that, while blog… Read more »
kendynamo
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kendynamo

it must really suck to watch someone do the same job you do but charge nothing for it.  kind of a reverse wal-mart.  the little guy’s pricing the big corporations right out of business.

kendynamo
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kendynamo

Johnson’s Mac World example reminded me of the old school nintendo days and how things have changed for gamers.  back in the days of eight bits, if you wanted to find your way out of the forest maze i zelda or wanted 30 extra lives in contra, you either had a subscribtion to nintendo power or you knew a friend that did (or a friend of a friend etc etc).  now you just google the game your playing and gamefaq and you’ll get more than you ever wanted to know about any game ever published.

Joao
Guest
Joao

Leo,

The issue of blogger access is a non-debate.  Some teams already have a blogger access policy.  Washington Capitals, for instance, issued one several years ago and they have one of the more interesting blog communities.

DavidB
Guest
DavidB
A couple of things which warrant mention: 1) With the death of newspapers….consumers are LOSING an option.  We can hope that the replacements are superior, but that doesn’t change the fact that our total options for news are now FEWER. 2) Professional journalism, at least in theory, aspired to objectivity.  (I know, I know, insert jokes about the ‘New York Times’ and Fox News, but most news outlets were at least lightly influenced by an ethical canon.) Blogs and online news, on the other hand, often times celebrate their opinions and the fact that they’re just trying to be provocative… Read more »
Craig Calcaterra
Guest
Craig Calcaterra

David—who’s celebrating the death of newspapers?  I’m not, nor are either of the two writers I’ve linked to in the last two days, nor are any of the posters around here.  I think the most that can be said is that people are noting what may very well be an inevitable thing and brainstorming as to what the world will look like in the future.

Melody
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Melody
I think it is a little scary to think about what might happen to the media as we know it—for one thing, people are more and more able to seek out news and opinions they already agree with, and to avoid those they disagree with.  There are good and bad things about that, but it does have the effect of polarizing people. In regards to compensation, I also wonder whether there will be money for projects that are very important, but require a lot of investigative work.  One problem with the increased profit motivation in the media currently is that… Read more »
Leo
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Leo
Jaoa, no, it’s not a non-debate.  That the Capitals (and a few other teams – don’t the Dallas Mavericks allow in some bloggers?) have blogger access does not settle the debate by any means.  In fact, it remains one of the biggest debates out there. There are at least 10-12 or more outstanding blogs on every pro team in every league.  There are probably hundreds or more good blogs on the more popular teams. There are also dozens, if not hundreds, of decent blogs that aren’t team focused, but that provide solid commentary and reporting.  Clubhouses, press boxes and locker… Read more »
Glen L
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Glen L

I think everyone is getting worked up over nothing.  The internet has removed any artificial barriers to entering the newsmarket.  The internet will literally become an ACTUAL free market for news (both in terms of production and consumption).  This will necessarily invite loads of competition and the price to consume will fall.  The demand for news (be it political, financial, sports, whathaveyou) will determine how indepthly it is reported and analyzed.  Given that there will be a huge demand in general for news, the news will undoubtedly be reported and reported well by myriad sources

BCBarney
Guest
BCBarney
I haven’t read the link from today yet but I will later.  I’ve enjoyed reading all of the opinions and there are some great thought out comments.  One thing that I think will be lost in this conversion is the lack of newspaper or institution driven reporting.  I think that what everyone has been calling investigative reporting falls under this.  I’ve broadened it a bit to include reporting on the state science fair as well as digging into the fiscal scandal of the state senator.  Now the science fair may not need to be covered but I’ve got to imagine… Read more »
Melody
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Melody

Great post from Joe Posnanski, who adds to this conversation as only Joe can.

It’s a must-read.

http://www.joeposnanski.com

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