I have no followers and no network here, but I have an idea!
More than ten months ago I started to become fascinated by the power of news and the way the media was telling stories about the world.
I am curious about the world and am going to do my best to see as much of it as I can.
One story I could tell would sound very cliché. I traveled, it changed me, now I want to do something good.
But I’ve actually always been traveling, my whole life, and I know its a beautiful gift to see and experience far off places.
What I felt last summer was more like an awakening, that there is so much potential and opportunity in the connected world we live in but no one seems to see it except for me.
I asked myself why does news work like this? Why do people tell other people’s stories? Why are there no human stories about life that are easy to find and understand? Why are the headlines the same everywhere, and either just business or just politics?
I spent some more months researching the field. I figured out what this complex beast is, what it is inside of.
I researched around the field, the social and cultural drivers that are moving everything. I researched the niche trends that are random and beautiful.
One thing I discovered is that at least on a societal level everything is pointing towards collaboration over competition. Books are being published every day, and new masters classes are starting every semester, that teach post-market theory. The day after the day after when capitalism has been usurped by a utopian division of labor perhaps or something else co-created.
“The way we work is changing” — any co-working space founder
And then I started to think about what that means for news media.
If we imagine a potential future way of living where do we get our news?
There are a thousand signals related to technology but those are mostly mediums for conveying information.
So what about the other signals in society? Where will the story start in the future, and what signals are there for that right now?
For example the sheer volume of posts and shares on all social media combined about whats going on around the world, is a signal that its changing. But also where businesses and governments reach people isn’t only through traditional news outlets any more, its confined to 140 characters or a picture, or a blog post or a Medium article.
Now lets zoom out a bit, because this is where it gets complex and far fetched.
What do we know?
News organisations are struggling in their own way to stay relevant and profitable with the next generation of readers. Therefor there are hundreds of startups and new news organisations reinventing the sharing of stories.
People are sharing information now more than ever before with 510K comments on Facebook every minute, 600M tweets every day, etc. its obvious people want to participate online.
The technology to work collaboratively online already exists (google docs, wiki, etc.) and it works great.
Journalists are people too, who participate and live their lives in the real world.
Business models can be revamped to create revenue and social good.
Society as a whole is changing and is hyper connected!
What if there was a platform that did the following:
- Let all the right people work together, free of hierarchy, so we get the whole story all the time.
- Doesn’t ask you to do anything new (share, create or otherwise)
- Presented diverse stories from around the world so we stayed truly curious.
- Created revenue and social good
- Paid journalists
I can make an argument for each point, and how to theoretically accomplish everything.
On top of that I can explain how a practical way to accomplish everything doesn’t actually ask anyone online today to create new habits or routines, just change platforms.
I think part of the reason many new platforms, including Medium, have their own difficulties being part of the future they see ahead is because they hold on to bits and pieces of a crumbling paradigm within capitalism.
And some even newer platforms are trying to “solve the problem” with huge networks of people always doing lots and lots of new things that they aren’t used to doing.
And some are trying to use algorithms to tell the whole story by collecting enormous amounts of data then leaving it up to every reader to decipher meaning.
None of them will work in the long run because they either try to force humans to do things and fit into boxes or ignore the human in society all together… fascinating.
At this point this might seem grand and like I said far fetched, but here’s why its not:
I’ve looked at dozens of the best start-up incubators and accelerators in Europe and the US and to see what media and news companies are getting funding these days. I’ve looked at platforms and programs and companies, and prototypes from every continent. I’ve looked at social journalism, citizen journalism, traditional journalism, journalism education, news organisations, news and journalism grants and foundations, media literacy programs, press programs, news feeds, social media programs, innovation studies, frameworks, digital tools, web applications, and done so for generational trends in South Africa, Denmark, Japan, and The States.
Why am I posting this all here? Because Medium is redesigning itself, it has the technology and the user base to activate real change in journalism and news, and because I want to support and join that movement.
Here is a brief summary of the organisations that are doing things differently but not reaching far enough, and are all at different stages of development.