Posts from May 19, 2005
News without newspapers?
: Doc Searls comes out with on-the-spot insights that abstract and summarize big trends with the clarity a new pair of glasses brings and he does it with the ease and frequency with which Howard Stern farts.
At the Syndicate conference this week, I was standing next to Doc and a fellow media executive who was saying what all us media executives say all the time: We need to find the business models that will support quality journalism.
Without missing a beat, Doc says, “You need to come up with business models that support news without newspapers.”
Exactly. You needn’t take that as a literal prediction — though some will — to find truth and value in that. We need to look at a world in which support from classified, retail, and national advertising will leak or pour out and in which the audience goes wherever it wants to go.
We need to rethink about newsrooms as news-gathering (not just news-creating) operations that bring together the community’s news and share it wherever, however, and whenever the community wants. And, yes, we need to think of new business models to support this.
Calling all cars
Go look at the amazing ChicagoCrime.org, which takes feeds of data on crimes throughout the city and plots them on GoogleMaps by neighborhood and type and even provides RSS feeds for crimes reported on every police beat and block.
When I started in this online biz, lo, more than a decade ago, this was one of the blue-sky ideas we always heard would be so cool. Well, once data is in a data base and somebody can get a feed of it and parse it, the cool is possible.
This is the hyperlocalest of hyperlocal news. [via Lost Remote]
: And I shouldn’t be surprised that the genius — and I mean genius — behind this is Adrian Holovaty, who’s changing media and the world from Kansas.
When editors and politicians are customer-service representatives
: I spent the afternoon yesterday with Craig Newmark, always a delightful trip. And during various conversations, he unfailingly makes reference to customer service. People usually react as to a punchline when the founder of the incredibly successful Craigslist says he is founder and customer service representative. But for Craig, it’s not a joke. It’s a creed.
Rory O’Connor does a great job capturing that view from Craig’s Q&A at the Personal Democracy Forum:
Whatís behind its amazing, word-of-mouth success? ìWe provide a simple and effective community service,î explains Newmark. ìWe are persistent about basic values, and establishing a culture, systems and structures of trust and goodwill.î
Sounds simple enough. So why isnít there a ìCraigslist for Politicsî yet? According to Newmark, itís because thereís a lack of trust in our political system. ìAt Craigslist, we view customer service as a high expression of moral values,î he noted. ìPeople are looking for institutions that reflect their values. Our political parties are not service organizations.î
Of late, Newmark added, he has been looking into media rather than politics. ìNews operations must also deal with issues of morals and trust,î he said. ìWe need better, more moral and trustworthy information.î
So what would a Craigslist for news be? It would be about trust. It would be about service.
The story is the story
: Amazing how anything can split and anyone can spit along party and ideological lines, even about Newsweek’s incompetent and dangerous journalistic mistake. I was talking about that with Jay Rosen just last night: about how his criticism of Newsweek’s error has earned him attacks from the left.
Isn’t this story about journalism, not ideology? For some, though, nothing is not about ideology.
David Brooks does well summarizing the ideological perspectives and pissing on the Newsweek affair.
…Every faction up and down the political spectrum has used the magazine’s blunder as a chance to open fire on its favorite targets, turning this into a fevered hunting season for the straw men.
Many of my friends on the right have decided that the Newsweek episode exposes the rotten core of the liberal media….
Meanwhile, the left side of the blogosphere has erupted with fury over the possibility that American interrogators might not have flushed a Koran down the toilet….
This, too, is unhinged. Would it be illegal for more people on the left to actually be happy that a story slurring Americans may turn out to be unproven?…
Then I click my mouse over to the transcripts of administration statements and I can’t believe what I’m seeing. We’re in the middle of an ideological war against people who want to destroy us, and what have the most powerful people on earth become? Whining media bashers.
Whining media bashers? How about dissatisifed media consumers? How about disappointed fellow journalists? How about unhappy fellow Americans?
Brooks is right to say that it’s silly and offensive to bash Newsweek and not bash the fanatical murderers who used this report as an excuse to kill.
But I think he’s wrong not to bash Newsweek himself, not to also criticize the magazine for making such an irresponsible error.
Brooks spends a paragraph saying that he used to work at Newsweek and he likes those guys and doesn’t believe they’re commies and that’s very nice.
But by not criticizing the report, the net message of this otherwise spot-on column is that press people defend press people, that we circle our wagons around our screw-ups, that we stick together first. Especially today, with the press’ trust in tatters, that is the wrong message.
What we should be saying is that we criticize each other first and we accept those criticisms first because we want to get to the truth together.
When the still-surprisingly-employed Dan Rather screwed up with his memoes — and after my readers here forced me to comment on that as a media story not a political one — Rosen and I were pointed to as liberals who criticized Rather along with the conservatives. That may have been apparently factual but it was the wrong conclusion: We were journalists criticizing journalists because we should.
What a relief
: No more stories about dorky Star Wars losers without lives waiting in line for a damned movie.