sometimes things get worse



Freddie deBoer used to blog at, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

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14 Responses

  1. Avatar JB says:

    “Where’s the evidence?”

    Have you heard of this company called Google? They had a free search engine with no revenue stream.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Let’s look at, say, the recent happenings in Iran.

    Do you think that we would know more if the NYT had sent 10 reporters there and we not had this “free” twitter thing?

    We certainly would have had an expertly written (and even more expertly edited!) story.

    More than that, we would have had a story with a strong narrative that we (or anybody, really) would have been able to follow with a beginning, middle, and (depending on the timing of the eventual story) something approaching resolution.

    Indeed, we’d all feel like we knew what was going on in Iran and if there was someone who was confused, we could point them to the NYT story.

    I am beginning to suspect that the certainty we used to be able to feel when reading these stories was certainty built upon sand.Report

  3. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Couple points – first, it’s Seth Godin, but that’s just a quibble. Second, won’t news wire agencies still exist? And isn’t it possible that the collapse of big media will lead to more of an emphasis not only in new media, but in local media? Isn’t it possible that it is simply going to make a different operating model more likely – less print, more local content, etc. And someone will inevitably fill in the gap for international news, etc. though I imagine Reuters and the AP aren’t going anywhere too quickly.

    And lastly, what’s your solution?Report

  4. Avatar mike farmer says:

    There will likely be trusted, global connections which send information back and forth and all around. A skeletal news organization entirely online could be connected worldwide, so that people witnessing news live who are a part of the trusted network can relay the news in an instant.Report

  5. Avatar Dan Miller says:

    I’d second the call for a solution–I’d actually be interested to read one. Given that we seem to agree that we’re headed for a world with fewer professional reporters, and more amateur production of “news”, however defined, what is the best course of action? How should we seek to affect this process, or work within it?Report

  6. Avatar ChrisWWW says:

    You gotta admit, free does seem inevitable, even if that’s not a logical argument.

    While I lament the decline of the newspaper industry, we could still be looking at a future with the NY Times, WSJ, CNN, AP, Reteurs, etc. As the smaller papers die off, it should increase the readership (and advertising value) of the remaining players. In theory, the surviving giants should be able to afford various bureaus.Report

  7. Avatar conradg says:

    First, the problem with predicting the future is that all you have are assertions, none of which are provable.

    Second, the whole point about twitter vs. the NY Times is that Iran isn’t allowing western reporters in, so the NY Times can’t write an inside story based on facts, even if it wanted to. Twitter and bloggers fill in these cracks, and actually end up giving a pretty good picture overall of what the scene is like on the streets, if not among the power elites.

    Third., as E.D. points out, wire services and their like will always be with us. One of the dirty secrets of the “news” business is that there’s a tremendous amount of lazy redundancy. National and international reporters simply repeat the same set of facts over and over again, without actually adding much of value to the story. We could wittle down their numbers without actually losing much in the way of real news content. In fact, we might increase the quality of reporting if only the best reporters were out there covering the national and world scene as a pool/wire service. Where the problem lies is in local news coverage.

    Anyway, the idea that actual news reporting is getting worse, or will continue to get worse, is not demonstrated by the facts. Actual news reporting has always been shabby and populated by untalented hacks, and it probably always will be. Idealizing reporters and news organizations, and pretending that what we end up with at the end of the internet shakeup will be worse than what we started with is a specious assertion, unfounded on facts. And the idea that we are supposed to lament the loss of jobs that people simply don’t value enough to pay for is silly. We should be blaming the industry itself for not putting out a product people are willing to pay for. We do with every other industry that can’t sell its product.Report

  8. Avatar Nancy Irving says:

    I hope you aren’t suggesting that people like Josh Marshall at TPM (which you mention) are not aware that what they do is dependent upon news generated by traditional sources, and are not as worried as you are about the recent and impending newspaper bankruptcies. Marshall, Drum at Mother Jones and other major blog players have written about this frequently and with extreme concern.Report