Just trying to get through the Internet revolution alive, is all

In Freelance, Publishing, Smartness, The news biz on March 14, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Take a gander at this blog post. It’s well worth your time if you give any kind of a damn about the future of news.

The blogger, Clay Shirky, argues that efforts to preserve newspapers — or even print publishing — are doomed. Period. We’re just plain in a time of technologically induced revolution, an upheaval in which no one knows what will replace print, or how or whether journalism will survive and advance in some new form. He compares it to the period shortly after the introduction of the printing press: the world went mad for a time. “People almost literally didn’t know what to think,” he writes.

Because we don’t and can’t know for sure what’s going to work, Shirky advocates trying just about anything.

Any experiment, though, designed to provide new models for journalism is going to be an improvement over hiding from the real, especially in a year when, for many papers, the unthinkable future is already in the past.

I will be the first to tell you that Smartnews isn’t going to rescue print journalism. It’s a transitional step. It just makes sense to me that, as newsrooms disintegrate, we need a new, more efficient way to organize our efforts.

But, yeah, it’s goint to be a rocky road the next few decades.

  • Thanks to Mark Freisen, a journalist at The Oregonian and blogger who maintains NewsDesigner.com, for passing this link along via Facebook.
  • Learn a little about Clay Shirky at good ole Wikipedia. I found a one-liner there interesting: “Shirky has long spoken in favor of crowdsourcing and collaborative efforts online, using the phrase ‘the Internet runs on love’ to describe the nature of such collaborations.”

    Love don’t pay the bills, though.

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