Journalism Doesn’t Need Saving, Maybe Delivery Just Needs Tweaking
The state of the news industry continues to be brought up on a frequent basis. Is journalism dying? Should publications put up paywalls? Should they block search engines and news aggregators. These are all questions that continue to be brought up repeatedly.
This week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt addressed the American Society of News Editors. This came shortly after Rupert Murdoch started going on about blocking search engines, yet again. Schmidt hinted at new ways of making money around online news content being developed (and Google working on this itself). If you’ve got 45 minutes to kill, you can check out Schmidt’s keynote below.
With the recent release of Apple’s iPad (and even since its initial announcement), there has been a lot of talk about the device playing a role in "saving journalism." I like Drew Curtis of Fark’s take on this mentality – gluing four iPhones together is going to save journalism? In actuality, "Journalism’s fine," he said in an interview we did with him at SXSW last month:
"The problem you’ve got with journalists is, all of us have got an area of expertise we know something about, and if you read an article in a newspaper about the area of expertise you know something about, they get it wrong right? It turns out that even the journalists get the newspaper industry wrong, and they’re in it, but they’re not like making the decisions about what’s happening, so there’s not really this conscious understanding of what’s actually going on."
At the news editor event, Schmidt made some comments about blogging that got a few people riled up as he highlighted the need for editors, and while there is certainly merit to his point, Curtis’ point about journalists getting things wrong has merit of its own, and that’s why there is certainly room for both styles of reporting.
Schmidt must feel the same way, considering Google owns Blogger, Blog Search, and includes blogs in Google News. The fact of the matter is, there is plenty of room for error in either venue, and frankly, online, the lines between so-called professional journalism and blogging are often quite gray.
I think we’re going to see some more interesting and creative methods for news delivery and consumption in the not-too-distant future (here’s an interesting one that’s already out there), which is what Curtis says the newspaper industry needs, and what Schmidt seems to indicate Google is working on as we speak.