Here’s the news: News is not news anymore
: It’s going to take awhile for this to sink in but make no mistake about it: The definition of news is changing radically. It is no longer the exclusive property of what we used to consider news outlets. Consider:
: As we all know now, Howard Stern’s show is news, as decreed by the FCC. And it was a good and proper decree. Howard makes news all the time. Howard asks guests — including politicians and the celebrities who are on all the other “news” shows — and asks them questions the others dare not ask. Howard is news.
: Today the Times reports that K Street, the new HBO show about lobbyists and politicians in Washington, has been forbidden access to the hallowed halls of the Senate because rules “bar the use of Capitol and Senate space for commercial or profit-making ventures.” Well, folks, what do you think CNN is? Or the New York Times? They are profit-making, commercial ventures. And they have features like HBO. And HBO makes news like they do. Who’s to say what’s news and what’s not? It’s not a clear line.
: And then, of course, we have ourselves, bloggers. I’m waiting for the first, inevitable fight over blogger credentialing to a political convention or the White House press office or to a city police press room. You can see it coming: Blogger applies; blogger is rejected because he’s not a “legitimate news organization;” blogger sues; blogger wins. For who’s to say who gathers news and who doesn’t?
: Next week, my sites will start their experiment with hyperlocal blogs using people who aren’t necessarily credentialed journalists to gather news nonetheless (with a blogger’s perspective); using real people — audience members — to help inform the audience (something that happens in our forums now) is a way for a news organization to get more local and more useful than it ever could afford to the traditional way. And who’s to say that’s not news? As I always point out in these discussions, this does not mean that bloggers and other new news will replace the old news; we’ll always need reporters with training and resources and support and, when necessary, courage to gather facts. But new news supplements old news; it goes into details and interests old news can’t reach; it expands news. And that’s a good thing.
In fact, I think maybe I should be the test case, since I am a know, confessed journalist and I am a blogger. I get the news, too.