Black and white and dead all over

Michael Kinsley writes a, well, cute column about the Rube Goldberg process that produces newspapers and how it’s likely doomed. Not sure what the news is there. In it, he asks:

No one knows how all this will play out. But it is hard to believe that there will be room in the economy for delivering news by the Rube Goldberg process described above. That doesn’t mean newspapers are toast. After all, they’ve got the brand names. You gotta trust something called the “Post-Intelligencer” more than something called “Yahoo” or “Google,” don’t you? No, seriously, don’t you? Okay, how old did you say you are?

The latest Ad Age, in a special issue with American Demographics, asks Americans just that question (no link, damn them):

What Web site provides the most reliable source of information on the internet?

Top picks were Yahooo (cited by 11.3% of U.S. consumers), MSN (10.4%), Google (9.9%), CNN (8%), AOL (5.2%) and Consumer Reports (3.1%). Google scored first among younger consumers, with 22% of the 18-24 crowd and 15% of the 25-34 group choosing to Google.

In Europe, no single media property emerged as most trustworthy and objective. But Eruope has a clear choice for most-reliable Web information source: Google ranked tops in France, Germany, Netherlands and Spain, and scored No. 2, behind the BBC, in the U.K.

Google’s strong showing in the U.S. and Europe as a reliable Web information source is intriguing since the site largely leaves it to users to figure out what in the sea of unedited search results should be believed or discarded. But that leaves consumers in control, and those consumers count on Google to lead them to the truth.

Behind these stats lie a few phenoms: Yes, online brands are trusted. And in a world of new ubiquitious and international uberbrands, it’s impossible for a local or niche brands to rise up in top lists such as these. But don’t get trapped into old, media 1.0 big-think: The aggregation of the smalls is the powerful force here. Small is the new big.

But the real lesson is what Ad Age said at the end: This is about control, about finding, packaging, editing, judging sources on our own.

The challenge for those black, white, and dead-all-over old properties is to find the ways to contribute to that new world and be found when Google is the front page.