I have been thinking some more about the Pew Reserach Center’s recent study on the state of the news business.
The study drove home a point that has become increasingly obvious. All of us are trying to find the right online model
for both reporting the news and and monetizing it. That is the long curve. The short curveball to the temple, of course, has been the economy, which both accelerates the need to move to online and makes it harder at the same time.
It has never been easier to report the news, of course, but it may never have been as hard to make it profitable.
I think most journalists recognize that the the days of being de facto news gatekeepers is gone. But just how the old
media become the new media and capitalize on their experience and authority, which should be a value proposition in the
Wild West of the blogosphere, is still unclear. But it needs to get a lot clearer a lot faster.
Frankly, I think we will get there. Right now, old line media operations are putting engines on their buggies rather
than designing cars, but that is at least a first step. If only the economy will allow them to take the second and third steps, which could include trial and error and, gasp!, investment.
The irony will be that if companies continue to cut experience and judgment to make the next quarter’s budget, rather
than seeing them as an investment in the future, these companies will wind up getting rid of the one asset that they will need to stand out in a sea of free, free-for-all journalism.
Pew suggested that going deep–as in incisive, nuanced and contextualized information that is worth paying for–may be the way to score online. But that usually depends on seasoned and experienced journalists who no longer get carded at the grocery store checkout counter and may cost a little more at the end of each month.