The news will find us

Brian Stelter has an excellent piece in today’s New York Times about young people and their different relationship with media in this campaign. As Pew has pointed out, young people especially (and people of all ages) act as conduits as much as consumers. And they expect to watch video themselves. This is also a clear example of how the peer replaces the editor. My favorite line:

Ms. Buckingham recalled conducting a focus group where one of her subjects, a college student, said, “If the news is that important, it will find me.”

You have to drop that bottle in the ocean, or no one will find it.

And this:

Rather than treating video-sharing Web sites as traditional news sources, young people use them as tools and act as editors themselves.

“We’re talking about a generation that doesn’t just like seeing the video in addition to the story — they expect it,” said Danny Shea, 23, the associate media editor for The Huffington Post ( “And they’ll find it elsewhere if you don’t give it to them, and then that’s the link that’s going to be passed around over e-mail and instant message.”

Now compare and contrast this with Lee Gomes in the Wall Street Journal, who can write clueful and clueless columns on the internet. His latest should be dropped in the latter bucket. He’s just not sure what to make of this internet thing and its impact on politics. Could be bad, could be good. Hmmmm. Web videos, especially on YouTube, are a good place to start. They have been called the death of the TV sound bite, for the way voters can experience lengthy realities without the filters of a news show constrained by time limits and commercials. The 37 minutes of Sen. Obama’s race speech quickly became one of the most widely downloaded.

Less clear is whether YouTube will be just as bad, or worse, at blurring the line between a fair point and a cheap shot than newspapers or TV ever were.

That’s he problem with columns: You have to write them even when you don’t have anything to say. I’ll wait for his next one.

:Later: TechPresident reports the ratings for the Obama race speech: More than 4million views for the speech or excerpts on YouTube.