If he ruled the world….

Here’s what Ethan would do if he bought a newspaper, starting with this:

1) Take the third floor (newsroom). Move them out and cut some staff. Put them in a big warehouse type space that was computers on the outside wall, and conversation areas inside. Make this warehouse in a public space, open to the public. Put in a coffee bar, open wifi and invite the consumer to come in. Leverage the content the consumer creates in this environment so that the reader is also the (co) writer.

  • If the financial backers of Pajamas Media ever (God forbid) decide to step in to protect their assets, I think Jeff Jarvis would be the logical choice to run their business, don’t you think? Experience, a track record, a vision… :)

  • Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I’d happily bail the Fortune 500 gig to work for Ramen Noodles and an internet connection. Seriously :)

  • Craig Newmark is up to something like that…In three months we’ll see the result…

  • The only thing missing from Ethan’s plan is free pony rides.

  • OCR already did that at the Orange County Fair in 1997. Sorry!

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  • Rick

    Uh, who would actually do the on-the-ground newsgathering? The investigation of official lies? You need to steal somebody’s original work to have a conversation, and it seems the Web 2.0 hypesters overlook that a little to conveniently

  • Kate

    Some cute ideas but as Ethan himself admits, it’s mostly impractical. As a journalist in the MSM I think things really do need to change dramatically (and inevitably will) but a lot of this stuff is loopy. The whole thing would get taken over by the crazies who email journalists to sound off about their obsessive interests, usually without even reading the story. The kind of people who should stick to blogging (if they can even work out how to do it). Not to mention PR people, who would be just about fighting each other in the hallways to get near the journalists. Ew. On the same note, the idea of putting marketing people in with journalists is just wrong in so many ways.

    And as Rick’s comment points out, how would you actually gather the news? We already have internet terminals. What would coffee machines and Wifi add, exactly?

    I much prefer Jeff’s own ideas posted a couple of days back.

  • The use of the word “leverage” tends to make one want to discount his suggestions.

  • Robert

    What you would end up with is the equivalent of a parish magazine/gossip sheet. Not a newspaper.

    I wrote for magazines for 13 years. I would spend a day or two on a 1000 word article: researching, interviewing people and writing and then rewriting.

    The idea that some unpaid member of the public could just pop into this cafe/newsroom for five minutes, look up some stuff on Google and then write an article of any quality and accuracy is ludicrous.

    Very nice for the journalists who get ‘cut’. Are we all destined to become unpaid ‘citizen journalists’? Or ‘amateurs’ as they used to be known.

    Sure there is a tiny number of good bloggers, who are effectively journalists and who, frankly, should be paid for what they do.

    So much of this is sheer pie in the sky. And don’t get me started on video blogs and the myth that everyone will soon be making a daily magazine programme! Why isn’t that happening, ask Amanda and Andrew from Rocketboom. Yet Andrew admits it takes more than 8 hours to make a three minute daily show. Which pretty much ties in with professional TV experience.

    Rocketboom – the best known video blog in the world. Featured on CBS and around the world. Running for a year and how much money does it make? Zero from what I’ve read.

    We are led to believe that Rocketboom has minimal costs. However they don’t seem to include the cost of a person working 8 hours a day for a year with no income? Perhaps in the next interview they could ask Andrew how he has bought food and paid his bills for the last year?

    Seems pretty unsustainable to me. Though I guess this could end up with them making some money selling the ‘brand’. A brand that has partly been built on the back of other people’s copyright content btw (see their use of the British Forces ‘Road To Armadillo’ spoof video with the whole of a number one hit record on the soundtrack. Hardly ‘fair use’!). But it’s OK because right now Rocketboom is not commercial.

    Generally speaking, this is what most people are really doing – building a name to sell in the future, on the back of other people’s content. Google does it, FireAnt does it, Rocketboom is probably doing it…

    So please no more surprise that more people aren’t coming up with wonderful TV on a daily basis! And don’t pretent that bloggers are ever going replace professional paid journalist unless they do get paid for their work.

  • MSM Kate said “What would coffee machines and Wifi add, exactly?

    This quote completely sums up the MSM’s detachment from reality. My whole world would collapse around me without coffee and wifi.

  • Sounds like Ethan would go broke. The business end of his plan looks like the one used by the Underpants Gnomes on South Park.

  • Robert, there are a lot of good bloggers, experts on something. Their content is free, but they get paid for the services they provide. Can you compete with them?


  • Robert

    I suppose you’re suggesting that a journalist should provide free content but then do lectures on the side to earn some income? Something like that?

    I am a specialist in a particular field. I used to write for magazines and I used to teach too. But no way would the money I made just from teaching cover my living expenses. In effect, what you are saying is that I should work full-time for half the money?

    Maybe a tiny number of people can command such a high fee that this model works for them. But I doubt it will for most people. There are already full-time journalists in the UK who earn £12,000 per year. That is about $20,000 and they do numerous hours of overtime unpaid. There is no time left to do anything else.

  • Robert, I agree with you. We should build new business models for media, ASAP.

    What happens if the old media dies too soon? The urgent need for solid online news media business models

  • Robert

    You’re right Dimitar. But I’m worried that the business models will be mainly for the big companies and the small people will get left out in the cold.

    Big companies and organisations are already taking advantage of the enthusiasm surrounding ‘citizen journalism’. Even public service organisations such as the BBC, which insists on a royalty-free perpetual licence for any images it is given. Why exactly? The BBC deals with licensing and royalties all the time — for actors and professional media — so what is the big problem with rewarding members of the public for images used? The answer is they don’t because they can get the content for free and people will agree to these outrageous terms.

    I see many places where I can put my video content where it will get viewed for free and at least one where I can release it as Creative Commons with an ad on the end. But where are the pay-per-view video services that let me hold onto my copyright and get a small return?

    The experience of Rocketboom (which I do like BTW), illustrates the amount of time that goes into making video content. I think we won’t see much quality video until there is a solid mechanism so the makers can earn something to cover the time they spend.

    Someone was saying Google has lost the plot… Why has Google Video stalled? And, incidentally, search for ‘BBC’ on Google Video and see what you find. I found entire music performances from BBC Top of the Pops (Robbie Williams) bits of Top Gear, classic drama and comedy. All of which must surely have been uploaded illegally? I thought content was vetted?

  • Robert, I’d like to suggest you something interesting to meditate on:

    VentureWeek #3 – Music Technology

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