Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The future of open source media

Take a look at this eight minute flash presentation - a fascinating "review" of future events in media consolidation via open source journalism. It gets beyond the view of blogging's new-gadget status and starts to get to the profit and global benefit vision. Some ideas (fully automated editing and gatekeeping) are pretty out there, but so was the notion of unlimited online storage and pushbutton free publishing tools just over a decade ago when I was graduating from the J-school at UNC-CH.

In '94, the debate was whether or not online newspapers might wipe out print and the prevailing thought (correct) was that they would not. That didn't (and doesn't) stop some papers from digging in and resisting (Herald-Sun). Even now, only a handful of papers like the News & Observer and the Greensboro News & Record have had the vision to embrace blogging as a means to connect better with readers -- a means to expand the paper's value, not cry about the potential "threat" that blogging might present.

When I see some of these traditionally syndicated editorialists waving their arms and whining that bloggers "aren't even trained as journalists!" I have to laugh at their fear of competition. If these pajama clad writers are such nitwits, why would you even acknowledge they're on the landscape?

Because they can see that lines are blurring and that it will be the marketplace of ideas and not the easy division of have and have-not that will drive who gets read and who gets ignored. That won't bode well for the lazy, the rich and those who have held power so long that they've forgotten they weren't born with it. I haven't yet seen a woman or a minority writer complaining about open source journalism. Coincidence? I think not.

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