March 14, 2009

The future of News is here. Has an office.

by tolles at 12:00 PM

After I moderated my panel of user generated content yesterday, I popped into the talk Steven Berlin Johnson gave on the Ecosystem of News , then was nearly bluedgeoned on twitter by the number of people urging the internet to read Clay Shirky's take on the subject, to the point where the first thing Jeff Jarvis said to me after "hello" was "have you read Clay Shirky's piece?" when I ran into him at SXSW.

And, to top it all off, Rich Skrenta (co-founder of Topix, amongst other things) put out possibly the best analogy ever on the newspaper business and its relationship to the net with his post "The news medium has a message: 'Goodbye' ".

Wow.

While seeing all of this, all on the same day might make you think that there's some sort of new insight emerging here. However, if you look closely at Steven's points -- he references the William Gibson quote in his talk "the future is already here, it is just unevenly distributed -- technology and political news have already gone thorugh much of this shift, and the news in those areas is actually much richer and fuller than it was back in the days of paper.

Also, Rich's post is pretty much a summary of the pitch we made to the newspaper comapnies that invested in us.

So, there's nothing new here, really, accept the fact that the journalists and pundits are finally conceding the truth of what's going to happen:

The business model for the American newspaper daily is gone, and is never, ever, coming back..

So can we now please stop trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again?

It's going to be ok.

Steven demonstrates that, for tech reporting, the future is already here -- and Rich has been to its office. (And, coincidentally, both of those guys put their money where their mouth is, having founded companies based on that future with Outside.in and Topix)