ecosystem of news

steven johnson at a panel table. 🙂 wackiness with technology!

old-growth media: a good thing. a 1st person account of his experiences. (you know, being an author and all) macworld mag in the 80s, obsessing. information imbalance. what life was like before. one channel if you were obsessive about macs/mac software then, and news a month late, at that. compuserve, macweek uploading articles once a week on friday nights. ala must-see-tv? 🙂 beginning of the webzine culture (salon, feed). then apple site, etc., etc. “teenage self would be amazed by the technology that failed me” but also by the instantaneous news available. thousands of words.

metaphors we use tell us a lot about obsessions of society: nervous system, then ecosystem.

1987 mac news ecosystem = desert

2009 = jungle

future of the news itself, not current businesses. 2 key endangered species: war reporting & investigative journalism.

investigative journalism future may be seen by looking at the past of technology news. the “old-growth forest” of the web, just because people who were on the web early were more interested in tech than anything else.

now, to politics: his obession with the ’92 election (Newsweek, NYT, Crossfire, New Yorker, debates on TV) — then compare to 2008: (“I’ve been waiting for a reason to show the flame effect!” with the death of crossfire) same stuff as before, but also TPM, Kos, Huff Post, Sullivan, 538, watching debates collaboratively with Twitter, Stewart/Colbert on the web. what would’ve happened to “the race speech” in 1992?

old line: new media folks as parasite. but no, not all!

2nd wave of blogging came in politics.

more perspectives, more depth.

lost focus for a sec while going out to look at the Olympian. the long tail in news? local deli closing as news. 1000 blogs about brooklyn., his current thing. issue of scale, precision of interest.

do what you do best, link to the rest. old news focusing on that big stuff that they do best? (funding?) TPM Muckraker.

important concern: just way more stuff, hard to navigate. he think he gets better (Mac, say) news than 20 years ago, but he considers himself very savvy. does that expand to everybody?

if not…newspapers as organizing & editing forces? growing online audience. (elephant in the room: $$$) “all the news that’s fit to link”

crazy graph, describing his imagined ecosystem. “diy city” (need to look that up) “every city will have its own api” (thinking of oly & their website: hahahahaha.)

news – commentary – curation (twitter as curation? also, I’m hungry. and: metafilter?) – distribution

a whole other talk we could have about how we pay for this, how money flows thru the system. (that would be important.)

he’s bullish on the future of news, but not what’s happening now in newspapers, bad and getting worse. should’ve been a 10 year evolutionary process, instead a sudden collapse. (asteroid!) bad for 2 reasons: hurts actual individuals, and also distracts from the long-term possibility of evolution.


Dylan in re: no news is bad news group. came out of it: journalists angry & in denial, academics have no idea, bloggers just doing their thing but not getting paid. (except west seattle blog) he sees the business model as the main problem that needs to be solved. what happens to the communities away from “traditional” (ie white upper/middle-class college-educated) blogging?

advertising online. local spending that hasn’t migrated online (yet). yes, it is going to be turbulent. start telling people what it will eventually look like, a model to hold in yr head to go forward with.

someone from Mizzou? what’s the position of media at the top? (I’m not sure I got all that) digging, fact checking.

(oh, tired.)

kindle: he’s paying for stuff that he used to get for free. (how odd. also: class distinctions at work here IMO.)

overhead going way down: fewer journalists, lower print costs. I’m wondering how this connects to stuff Dorothea’s written about in re: OA. Will have to look. [update: I think this “OA brings savings…in typesetting?” is what I was thinking of, although I know she’s written more on similar topics.]

Death of long-form? Snack culture articles in Wired, he wrote the contrarian POV: huge books, 9-minute songs, ginormous story arcs in TV. not shorter OR longer, but both!