October 04, 2005

News Minus 'Paper' Still Equals News

Here's a quote worth thinking about:

"The essence of what makes a great newspaper has nothing to do with paper. It has to do with being a great community voice, reporting a story very well, and gaining the trust of your audience and your marketers."

That's John Battelle, one of the founders of Wired and of the Industry Standard, responding to question by Patrick Phillips during an interview on his site, I Want Media.

Battelle's next observation goes to the heart of the issue about the future of mainstream journalism:

"The real question is: Are we going to have a transport system that's going to allow people to carry news around with them wherever they go the way paper does? That's the one thing about paper that really trumps other media."

In other words, as I and others, like Phil Meyer, have been saying: Even as we concentrate on trying to reinvent newspapers, we need to develop new economic models that will pay for the journalism we want to do. Put another way: How are we going to change the forms and practices of journalism without undermining its core principles? [Read: Building the Journalism of the Future, Intentionally.]

Battelle also echoes the sentiment that print media will survive, but not as a mass vehicle and not without offering readers a uniqueness (local, topical, quality) not available elsewhere. He says:

"No, I wouldn't say that print media is on its way out. … I would say, however, that it better be very well justified if it is going to exist. … I think we've seen the passing of print as the medium of news delivery. There are plenty of examples where print was the best we could do because it's all we had. But the online medium is better."

The future will belong to those who build it.

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Posted by Tim Porter at October 4, 2005 10:05 AM

Blogs are the best thing to happen to journalism since the First Amendment.

As H.L. Mencken said the true freedom of the press is limited to those that own one. Now, blogs overcome that limitation. Anyone -- and it looks like just about everyone -- can publish their own material. However, the old rules still apply if you want to make a living as a journalist.

I love watching what blogs are doing to the MSM. Of course, blogs are going to screw up eventually. Like any mob, one day they will lynch an innocent person. Maybe they already have. Isn’t it quaint, that something as old as print is making a comeback in such a high-tech world?

At any rate to your topic: I look forward to the day when I can sit back with a devices about the size of a weekly newsmagazine and read breaking news or my favorite book and be able to click on any word and get its definition or background. Now that will be an information age. Oh yea! I want a set of those glasses in Gibson’s “Virtual Light”.

Posted by: scout29c on October 4, 2005 10:06 AM
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