Future of news

I taped this show months ago and didn’t even know when it aired on PBS. It’s a not-bad discussion of the future of news with me, Steve Coll of the New America Foundation (ex of the Washington Post) and John Sturm of the Newspaper Association of America:

BTW, When I taped the show, I was not told that it was backed by the George W. Bush Institute. Didn’t affect the show, so far as I can see, but it would have been nice to know.

  • Very interesting discussion, and so crucial to our future. Too bad it’s usually framed in such narrow views – Jeff is right, it’s as if folks think we have to protect this “institution” called the press/media/newspapers from change, when we just need to make sure good journalism survives. Not an easy task.

  • Awesome discussion. I would like to see the way news is delivered altered. I think it would be awesome to have free lancers out there letting the news outlets know what’s going on in the community instead of the other way around.

  • It’s so exciting to be alive at this time. It seems the 5th or 6th estate is the Internet, no?

  • David UK

    The newspaper industry still doesn’t get it. Subsidised by the government? Charging news aggregators for linking to their content (and as you pointed out, sending people to their sites)?

    They still seem unable, or unwilling, to change their business models and adjust to the inevitable decline of dead-tree distribution. Who wants to read yesterday’s news?

    Yes, grass-roots investigative journalism is more important than ever, but as you pointed out, low-overhead, hyper-local news sites are springing up and holding local officials to account.

    As for big national newspapers, they could maybe learn a thing or two from http://www.guardian.co.uk/ (who I know you also write for). They seem to understand that a news website is much more than just reproducing what they currently put in print.

    Rather than stubbornly sticking to 20th century business practices and sticking their heads in the sand and complaining, newspapers should open their eyes to the new opportunities the web can offer.

    Maybe they should take some of your classes Jeff?

  • frankwolftown
  • Jonathan Stray

    I agree that The Guardian is very innovative, and I love their work, but they’re also losing over £100,000 per day. Innovation is only half of the problem. The news organizations also need to figure out what their sellable product is.

    (See e.g. this reference)

  • Kathleen Pavelko

    Ideas in Action is not a “PBS program.” A PBS program is one commissioned by PBS or distributed by it to PBS member stations.

    Ideas in Action is distributed by EPS (Executive Program Service) to individual public television stations (which may or may not be PBS members). It’s an important distinction as programs commissioned by or selected by PBS meet more stringent requirements on everything from technical quality to funder guidelines. (From the CEO of a PBS member station).

  • Chris

    Would you have not done the show if you’d known that the GWB Institute was backing it?

    Love you guys on TWIG, btw.

  • john p garrett

    I’m glad everyone wants news to survive but hyper local web only journalism may not be the answer either (Examiner.com just cancelled their local pilot projects because you can’t produce good hyper local journalism at $5 a story). Bashing newspapers for trying to save print is ignorant and arrogant thinking. Its the only money maker for newspapers right now. What we need is a combination of the two that works…or maybe the comeback of the afternoon newspaper? (I know its not cool enough in the age of the internet but maybe it gives the newspapers another chance to be timely)

  • I don’t get why everyone in the discussion goes along with the notion that news organisations are independently reporting.

    About news aggregation.
    One person said there has to be a return, but when you get visits, you get a return on investment. A CPM based ad campaign may not cover all costs associated with the creation of that content but that’s not Google’s fault.

    Also, the words government support comes up quite a lot.
    Maybe I’m wrong but some people in the discussion seem to want more than just support for broadband.

    While the US is waiting for another bailout of yet another industry, the place they should keep an eye on is Iceland where it starts getting interesting!

  • Blargy


  • Pingback: Future of news « Todd's Tech Talk()