The future of news is entrepreneurial

Jeff-JarvisThere’s a brilliant guy named Jeff Jarvis with a blog called Buzz Machine.

Rockin’ reads it religiously.

I find it bloody dense. Wordy. Few graphics or photos. A video once-in-a-while if you’re lucky.

But one dense Buzz Machine post is dead on, something explained better than I’ve heard before:

The future of news is entrepreneurial

The future of news is not institutional… The news of tomorrow has yet to be built…. The structure – the ecosystem – of news will not be dominated by a few corporations but likely will be made up of networks of many startups performing specialized functions

That statement also holds many implications for sectors of the economy and society: investment (put money into the new, not the old)… public policy (don’t protect and preserve the incumbents but nurture the startups by creating a fertile and level playing field)… education (how do we train journalists when everyone can do journalism? – how do we train everyone?)… marketing (advertising won’t be one-stop shopping anymore and that means it may support news less)… PR (influence will be no longer be concentrated)…


He writes this, I think, as a response to the idiotic proposals that governments should support your local paper with tax dollars.

Are you telling me the Calgary Herald is too big to fail? … It’s not.

There’s a cheesy sounding news service called Demand Media, founded 2006. It’s already the single largest contributor to YouTube.

Also founded 2006, but better, is a company called My friend Blythe Lawrence went to work for them. She’s a trained journalist. Check out Blythe’s “blog” – Gymnastics Examiner. It’s as good as any of the old media in my business.

Jeff Jarvis is associated with another new (2007) media company called Daylife.


Looks like all 3 of these companies are going to survive. Dozens more will be founded. Some will flounder.

All 3 are radically different business models. In all 3 most of the people producing the content are paid very little.

Those are all “news” sites. More likely to survive longterm are speciality sites. I frequently read Matador Travel, for example. It’s an online travel magazine and social network. I’m more likely to check Matador for travel, or the Gadling travel blog, than look at travel pieces in a news site like DayLife. Matador and Gadling specialize in travel.

A friend of mine Kraig Becker went to work for Gadling recently. He’s getting paid something, and really enjoying posting for them. I’m totally happy with the quality of Kraig’s writing. And scan each and every one because I like his perspective on adventure travel.

We don’t know yet how we will get our news 2 years from now. It’s being fought out in the market place of ideas right now.

Perhaps they’ll even find a way to monetize news. To pay the people that produce it in micropayments. … My guess is that very few journalists will be well paid in future, however.

Certainly I won’t be subscribing to the Calgary Herald dead tree edition, ever again.

==== UPDATE:

I heard Jeff Jarvis on Leo Laporte’s new audiocast, This Week in Google.

Jarvis is a genius. Much better in audio than in text, IMHO.

His book, however, What Would Google Do? is high on my “to listen to soon” list.


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Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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