Is the future of news the future?
Dave Winer ☮
121

The only thing more insane than watching #oldmedia employees talk to each other is to go into a room they are griping about their own futures.

Many years ago at Ad:tech SF, I wandered into a something with such a label and took a seat that ended up being right in the center of seating. Moderator opened the discussion, turned to people on every side of me suggesting ways to save the industry (us retaining their jobs)

I mentioned how journalism is not essential to human life and quickly learned that behind closed doors, these guys weren’t the least bit interested in anything but holding on to the past.

I literally had to climb out of the pack to get to the door

Journalism Was Never a Profeesion

We live through millennia without journalism. People connected, shared stories, build civilizations just fine without mass media.

By the 20th Century, advertising distributors figured out that more people would read their circulars if there was something interesting in the space around the ads. News of the day was easy to write and they hired writers. Readership improved, ads got delivered and much profit was mad turn cheap paper into content.

By the end of the century, they perfected ways to get attention, out everyone in the mass market, fund video to wrap around ads and networks to scale. To appease the lucky few who owned the liscences to reach local markets, they added “film at 11" and used psychology to get viewers anxious to stay seated for the high profit 1/2 of all local commercials

The internet finally ended the need spoke and wheel distribution of content just as mass media had discovered how to get people hooked 24/7. From then on its been a fight to hold onto their cash cows

I remember when reporters and editors tried to set standard. Spent weeks in college studying “The Broadcast Code” and took a class on “Ethics in Journalism” (where the teacher require us to buy his book on the subject and never referred to it once)

In the late 70s, the journalism department on our Communications college was filled with people eager to get hired as investigative reporters. All the Presidents Men ran continually at the theatre and journalism was going to save the world.

We’ve learned better.

Networks proliferated, working outside a big corporation became acceptable and new media became the rule rather than the exception.

But the real difference is the elimination of at assumption that an elite group knows how to pick what we need to know. Today we can talk back, see events in real time, apply our own biases and make our messes.

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