I enjoyed Ariana Huffington’s News 2.0 first-hand take on how newspapers are going away, but not so soon. Here are some of my favorite parts, and a comment I left on her blog.
Those papers that wake up in time will become a journalistic hybrid combining the best aspects of traditional print newspapers with the best of what the Web brings to the table. We’re getting a glimpse into this hybrid future in so-called Old Media places like the Washington Post and the New York Times, and from New Media players like Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo sites. And, of course, that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with the Huffington Post.
Another old school behemoth that is embracing the digital future is the New York Times, despite its dunderheaded decision to hide Maureen Dowd, Nicholas Kristof, Bob Herbert, and co., behind TimesSelect (more on this in a moment). Drawing over 13 million unique users a month, the venerable Gray Lady is actually on the cutting edge of digital innovation, including Times Reader, which presents stories online in a format that approximates the experience of reading the paper’s print edition (combined with the search and flexibility bells-and-whistles of the web), and MyTimes (currently in beta), which allows readers to aggregate their favorite news sources and blend them with content produced by the Times, creating a single, custom-made digital super-paper. How serious is the Times about pushing the innovation envelope? It’s hired Michael Zimbalist, a former Disney imagineer, to oversee the company’s online research and development. That’s serious.
Chomping down on a story and refusing to let go is what bloggers do best. And while the vast majority of material that ends up being blogged about still originates with a mainstream news source, more and more stories are being broken by online news sources — a trend that will only continue with the growth of sites like TPM, Politico, TMZ (hey, the Mel Gibson and Michael Richards stories were big news), and HuffPost, where we are ratcheting up our commitment to original reporting, investigative reporting, and citizen journalism, in which our readers act as adjunct reporters — additional eyes, ears, and boots, or stiletto heels, on the ground, ferreting out news and underreported stories all across the country.
So stop writing teary-eyed eulogies for newspapers. The only thing dead is the either/or nature of the musty print vs online debate. The shifting dynamic between those two forces is exactly like the relationship between Sarah Conner and the T-101 in the Terminator movies. At first, the visitor from the future (digital) seemed intent on killing Sarah (print). But as the relationship progressed and the sequels unspooled, the Terminator became Sarah and her son’s one hope for salvation. Today, you can almost hear digital media (which for some reason has a thick Austrian accent) saying to print: “Come with me if you want to live!”
The hybrid future is kicking down the door. It’s time to let it in and fully embrace it.
Blow is my first comment ever left on the Huffington Post, or see it here.
The blending of new and old. That’s like four generations all living together under one roof. While we’re all reading a lot more stuff, the old and new media are both fighting and crying over why they’re not making a lot more money. Moral of the story/sign of the times = Maybe we’re all doing more stuff and not making more money from it. Bottom line is we gotta help divided sides team up and move ahead swiftly with an open mind’s eye on efficiency, economy, magical power of people and potential for things to come.
By: kenekaplan on March 29, 2007 at 08:00pm