Posted on January 25, 2008
Filed Under Web 2.0 Kool Aid |
I thought that the geniuses at Davos were supposed to be saving the world, but apparently this includes finding a way to “save” journalism. If you are one of the few people who is reading the newspaper instead of the blogosphere, you never hear the news: “real journalism” is dying and Craigslist and blogs like TechCrunch are to blame.
I think this entire discussion is quite amusing. As Mark Cuban has pointed out, “Contrary to popular belief, newspapers aren’t dying. Newspapers are making tons of money.” Are newspapers and traditional news outlets finding that the Internet is impacting them? Absolutely. But when you look at the total amount of revenue being generated and the recent acquisitions in the space, I think it’s clear that the industry is still more-than-viable. Obviously, newspapers and traditional media outlets should not ignore the challenges they’re facing and will need to adapt. Many are, albeit slowly; big changes never get done overnight with major corporations.
As I’ve pointed out before, citizen journalism has a long way to go before it’s a viable contender to take over the fourth branch. I won’t get into a debate on whether the government should subsidize journalism at this time because I think it’s moot.
What I do find interesting is the comments from Web 2.0 Kool Aid drinkers on this subject:
January 24th, 2008 at 7:12 am
—When the business model of “real journalism” fails, what should society do in response?—
I don’t know what you mean by “society”….but individuals are already declaring with their wallets that resources used by print journalism are no longer desired and should be sold off and used somewhere else.
I see no reason why anyone would want to waste resources and finance a losing venture unless they’re willing to risk their own capital….Government risks other people’s money, so that shouldn’t even be an option.
Obviously people have found much more value in “true” free market journalism - on the Internet.
What “true” free market journalism is this? You mean all of the blog posts that regurgitate and/or spin news from traditional media outlets? The vast majority of bloggers rely on traditional media outlets to feed them news.
January 24th, 2008 at 8:02 am
Hell no the government shouldn’t step in. Journalism/Newspapers are just the beginning. Next is television. After that its corporate America. Its a pattern that is being caused by the next industrial revolution. The knowledge worker has finally figured out they don’t need a corporation to earn money. The rise of the knowledge worker is just beginning. You also have to factor in the advancement of technology, such as the ability to create applications in days, rapid/mass production of parts (mfg.com) from your house, etc…
They say gen y, gen x, and gen (n) are lazy and just want to be famous. No they just don’t want to work for a corporation. Corporations are nothing more than a group of resources working together to produce an output. Why give your energy (resource) to a company who will profit off you when you can do it yourself and make just as much if not more money, set your own hours, and work from where ever whenever?
So back to the topic. If the government steps in the US is going to be in a world of hurt, because our economy will be screwed more than it currently is. This will be beginning of the end (Rome) when we have to uphold something that cannot support itself. Whatever happened to the phrase let the market decide?
Lets put all the old boys out of business….keep it up everyone!
Jason clearly needs to return to First Life. If he hasn’t noticed, Corporate America has only gotten stronger and more entrenched over the past decade. Most Americans still rely on employment from corporations to pay the bills and this isn’t going to change. Anybody who thinks that the average “knowledge worker” can “earn more money, set [their] own hours, and work from where ever whenever” is, for lack of a better word, an idiot. The United States is not, and will never become, a freelancer economy. Amongst the people I know, freelancers are far from being the wealthiest. Of course, Jason doesn’t know that freelancing isn’t the path to riches. his website, he’s a “marketer, programmer, designer, and inventor.” Translation: he’ll do whatever you want if you just hire him for a gig. Please?
January 24th, 2008 at 8:05 am
The short version:
Decentralization of media, wealth, etc… It is scaring the crap out of them.
Jason’s scattered mind forces him to return with this nugget of insight. Of course, if Jason hadn’t been relying on Duncan Riley for his information, he would have known that the world has actually seen a consolidation of wealth in recent times. Statistics show that the rich are getting richer and that the gap between the rich and the poor is only getting wider. But who really cares about facts?
Fortunately, there are still a few sane people who appear able to post comments on TechCrunch:
January 24th, 2008 at 7:31 am
Broken business model because of a few down years? Are you serious Mike? This is the top story here today. You yourself said journalism is dead, well let me step in and fill in the gaps in your reporting:
1. Sam Zell just led a group of investors to buy Tribune for $8 Billion.
2. NYT, WPO, and other papers are cash cow businesses that may not be growing, but are certainly not on the cusp of failure.
3. News corp just bought Dow Jones for the WSJ - another NEWSPAPER
3. News”paper” is still read by the large number of non web 2.0 kool-aid sipping tech shut-ins
4. No blog can replace the Sunday paper - Come on!
When you have smart media people buying newspapers left and right, does this signal the end of the industry or just a shakeout and rebirth? As the founder of techcrunch and surviver of web 1.0, the answer should be very clear.
January 24th, 2008 at 8:02 am
I have to agree (with reservation) with Shane @ #2. And Mike, there have been numerous conflicts of interest within traditional journalism in the past as well — major corporate sponsors have sometimes exerted far too much influence, sometimes at the expense of journalistic integrity; some news outlets report all stories from the political perspective of the company’s executive(s) (i.e. Murdoch’s FOX News).
Reservation: It really depends on execution, and equally brave/committed management teams — the BBC serves as an excellent model in this.
And to Jon @ #4 — while, in principal, I laud the ideals of citizen journalism…it suffers from the same ills as Digg: “The illusion is that Digg is a system typically referred to as ‘direct democracy.’ As such, denizens of that democratic environment want a system they can count on to put across their agenda, especially the long time users of Digg. They’ve formed the online equivalent of coalition governments with their sizable friends list, so when they post something to the site, they can reasonably expect it to make front page if it is of a certain quality.
This is one of the major components the new algorithm looks to combat, as well as another problem involved in direct democracy: self-interest.” — quoted from Mark Hopkins, at Mashable ( http://mashable.com/2008/01/23/digg-revolt-again/ )
Now, ask yourself:
1. How many of the top blogs reported the trouble in Kenya?
2. How many actually conduct original investigative journalism to expose misconduct and questionable actions in the VC, Tech, or whatever professions/markets/etc. that encompass their spheres of influence?
Now compare those results with:
– How many simply echo what appears in the NYT, CNN, or some other established “real journalism” outlet.
Heck, Jon, you have two serious grammatical errors in a total of 4 lines… Hardly a hallmark of bigger and better things to come for the world…
January 24th, 2008 at 8:36 am
I’m still in University, so I’m a bit ignorant when it comes to commerce, but how can Mr. Arrington conclude the failure of print journalism as a business model based on near term trends of its stock price? Moreover, he used the NYT as a paradigmn case. It seems like a slippery slope argument sprinkled with a generalization based on an insufficient sample size.
If anything, the decline in stock price will force the dailies to re-examine how they package and distribute their content.
It’s my opinion that what is occuring is a divergence of content from its traditional medium. The medium is changing but the content is still valuable. Once the dailies figure out the best and optimal new medium (kindle, e-paper, mobile devices + wifi bill boards) to distribute the content, they will be viable. The bigger question is: what do we mean by ‘print’?–printed text on paper; or digital print displayed on LCD screens.
And finally, Craig Newmark (apparently) chimed in to respond, in part, to Michael Arrington’s claim that newspapers are “getting their lunch eaten on the revenue end by Craigslist”:
January 24th, 2008 at 8:43 am
Just a clarification regarding craigslist:
– we’re a for profit corporation, have never claimed or implied we’re a nonprofit.
However, we act as a community service, hence, the site is almost completely free.
– fact checking is good; while we have an effect on newspaper revenues, it’s minor. Most of the chatter just reinforces the urban myth otherwise.
Please Craig, do not spike the Web 2.0 Kool Aid. Do not take from the Kool Aid drinkers the illusions that satiate their thirst. It’s all they have.Print This Post