In a Guardian interview, UK PM Gordon Brown says that the internet changes foreign affairs forever:
He described the internet era as “more tumultuous than any previous economic or social revolution”. “For centuries, individuals have been learning how to live with their next-door neighbours,” he added.
“Now, uniquely, we’re having to learn to live with people who we don’t know.
“People have now got the ability to speak to each other across continents, to join with each other in communities that are not based simply on territory, streets, but networks; and you’ve got the possibility of people building alliances right across the world.”
This, he said, has huge implications. “That flow of information means that foreign policy can never be the same again.
“You cannot have Rwanda again because information would come out far more quickly about what is actually going on and the public opinion would grow to the point where action would need to be taken.
“Foreign policy can no longer be the province of just a few elites.”
Neither government nor business nor education.
Editors Weblog at the World Association of Newspapers notes that the Guardian now has a bigger audience online than the vaunted New York Times:
With 18.4 million users in October, the Guardian was ahead of nytimes.com, which registered 17.5 million users in the same period, according to Nielsen / NetRatings. This was a record for both sites, as The New York Times’ user pool grew due to the shutting down of TimesSelect, and the Guardian launched Guardian America. Considering these recent results, the Guardian seems to be winning its bid to become the referential international news site. Guardian Unlimited’s US readership was already very strong before the launch of Guardian America. And US readers are reportedly drawn to the British online editions.
Here I speculated on the impact on products and operations of once local or national news brands going international. This also raises questions about business strategy — it’s not easy selling advertising around the world. But the race is indeed on: Who will lead at least the English-speaking universe?
(Disclosure: I write and consult for the Guardian. So I’m rooting for them.)
Also: I found this clip via the still-in-beta journalists’ bookmarking service, Publish2.com from Scott Karp (and disclosure: I’m on the board there so I’m rooting for him, too. You’ll soon be there, too.)
LATER: Guardian writer Bobbie Johnson in the comments and another Guardian colleague in the email say that the Editors Weblog is comparing apples and kumquats here; the stats are not equivalent. It’s still great growth and impressive size for both and the international question is still fascinating. But the sun still does set on the British empire. For now.