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Thinking the unthinkable — What's next

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Fascinating essay from a cat named Clay Shirky.
    Lots more at the link. A pretty interesting read, I think.
    http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/
     
  2. beardpuller

    beardpuller Active Member

    It's really well done, all right. I just wish he had a better answer than it's too early in the revoultion to find any decent answers. I kind of need one soon.
     
  3. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    I read this the other day, and my first reaction was to roll my eyes at another smarmy, full-of-himself blogger who uses phrases like "revolution" just because their ad model killed our ad model.

    But when I stopped and actually read it, he's all kinds of right. He's abso-freaking-lutely dead on right.

    I wish I could have written it that well.
     
  4. dreunc1542

    dreunc1542 Active Member

    He's not just a blogger. He has a book called Here Comes Everybody about the current information revolution. While I didn't agree with everything in it, he had some really good ideas.
     
  5. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    Why does anyone pay for anything, then? Ever.

    If the law gets tightened up and people using this content get the Napster treatment, paying for online content will work.

    Again, though, it does have to be done by everyone of any repute.

    Collusion.... whatever you want to call it.

    This guy can sound like the dog's balls as much as he wants, but people will be paying for almost all of this online content eventually.

    The nature of business will find a way.

    Just, not today, tomorrow, or even a few years.
     
  6. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Because they want it more than they want the money they have, and they don't have any other option to get it cheaper.

    This statement is quite ignorant of the technology and cost involved in such a treatment.

    And in case you didn't notice, illegal music downloading is still thriving.
     
  7. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    I'm sure most people were slagging on Lars Urlich about Napster a few years ago. Now we see that the Internet has come for us. I'm not inclined to slag so much now.
     
  8. beardpuller

    beardpuller Active Member

    In fact, I have a Napster membership and pay 99 cents a song. My collegiate son thinks I'm quaint. He would never think of paying for music, he has about eight different ways to get it for free ... and he's a musician.
    I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure music has become a business where you only make money by touring.
    I'm willing to go on a sportswriting tour, if that's what it takes, as long as I don't have to play Buffalo. Or Winnipeg.
     
  9. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    I think he's wrong about Cook's Illustrated and Consumer Reports. I have online subscriptions to both, and I don't believe that their popularity is due to extra credibility because they don't accept advertising. I think it's because people perceive the information as being better.

    With Consumer Reports, that's sometimes the case, but sometimes it isn't. If you want to buy exterior house paint, for instance, no mainstream source does what CR does -- run tests that simulate 10 years of wear, 15 years, etc. But if you're looking for an MP3 player or a cell phone, CNet, PC Mag, etc., cover many more models, run vastly longer and more detailed reviews, run the gizmos through lab tests, don't seem swayed by advertiser pressure and don't charge for access. Consumer Reports' content is skimpy by comparison. But Consumer Reports has created an aura of extra value that is sometimes an illusion. People believe they are getting a superior product because they have to pay for it and because Consumer Reports continually points out that it spends a lot of money to create the content. Also, it is very aggressive about hunting down those who infringe on its copyright. Consumer Reports treats its content like it has value, thus readers assume that it does, even when some of its content is far inferior to free content elsewhere.

    I have the subscription to Cook's Illustrated primarily because it's mostly everyday food and products, not too esoteric. Plus it's a decent read. The editor's column is rarely about food, but it's a pleasant five minutes. I think the content is superior. But I would feel that way even if there were ads.
     
  10. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    I posted this in the Simmons Klosterfuck, but here is a related essay.

    The author is founder of outside.in, a local news aggregator.

    http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/2009/03/the-following-is-a-speech-i-gave-yesterday-at-the-south-by-southwest-interactive-festival-in-austiniif-you-happened-to-being.html

    Here is the most salient part for this board. Emphasis is mine.

    Let me say one final thing. I am bullish on the future of news, as you can tell. But I am not bullish on what is happening right now in the newspaper industry. It is ugly, and it is going to get uglier. Great journalists and editors are going to lose their jobs, and cities are going to lose their papers. There should have been a ten-year evolutionary process: the ecosystem steadily diversifying and establishing its complex relationships, the new business models evolving, the papers slowly transferring from print to digital, along with the advertisers. Instead, the financial meltdown – and some related over-leveraging by the newspaper companies themselves – has taken what should have been a decade-long process and crammed it down into a year or two. That is bad news for two reasons. First because it is going to inflict a lot of stress on people inside the industry who do great things, and who provide an important social good with their work. But it’s also bad news because it’s going to distract us from the long-term view; we’re going to spend so much time trying to figure out how to keep the old model on life support that we won’t be able to help invent a new model that actually might work better for everyone. The old growth forest won’t just magically grow on its own, of course, and no doubt there will be false starts and complications along the way. But in times like these, when all that is solid is melting into air, as Marx said of another equally turbulent era, it’s important that we try to imagine how we’d like the future to turn out and set our sights on that, and not just struggle to keep the past alive for a few more years.
     
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