Monday, May 22, 2006

Luddite or Oracle?

There's quite a bit of angst expressed in Ed Wasserman's 'Is 'convergence' the next media disaster?' on the advent of new technologies in the media busisness:

...Ironically, the same news media chiefs who fret constantly about credibility and the declining appetite for news are diving into this 24/7 news cycle. Does that make sense? Doesn't it ensure that things will be posted online before they would be considered ready for print publication, with a resulting rise in errors, half-truths and all the things the public supposedly loathes? True, correcting errors is easier, but how much confidence can anybody have in media that publish before they edit?

And doesn't this whole transformation appeal mainly to the same committed news junkies who are widely assumed to be dwindling into extinction?

So why build a business model around providing third-rate journalism to a vanishing audience?...

...How much are news organizations, which worry so much about trust, willing to disclose about the degree to which their online audience is being tracked, the stories they read noted, the ads which they click on recorded?

The converged newsroom opens up huge, perplexing questions. So far they're being answered by the techies, the brand managers, the publishers, the marketers. When do we hear from the professional journalists? Where is their independent assessment of how these powerful new technologies can be used, not to plant the flag in cyberspace, not to reclaim market share, but to provide great, meaningful journalism?


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