I don't have any big, long manifestos to get us started, but I should explain briefly what conversation I'm joining with this blog, and why I'm joining it now. (If you want to know a little bit about who I am and what I do, my About
page is a good place to begin.)
I came out of school three years ago woefully ignorant about how far along the new media revolution already was. Sure, I knew about blogging (I was blogging myself), social media, viral video and several of the other elements of the new means through which information spreads online. But I had no idea that the day when that structure replaced the traditional newspaper-slapped-onto-a-website model as the primary way to find and spread news online had essentially already arrived. I believed the new model would merely stand alongside the old one, not break it; the old one, I thought, would continue to work simply because it always has.
But as Clay Shirky
has so perceptively told us, old models don't wait for new ones to be in place before breaking down, and we're watching the old one self-destruct at a faster pace than almost anyone involved in it would have predicted just a few years ago. That means we have a lot of heavy lifting in front of us: We have to find out what that new model is for news and information online, and establish it as quickly and thoughtfully as we can.
Over the past nine months or so, I've been doing a lot of listening to the conversation about how to develop this new model, what it might look like and what cultural effects it might have. Now, I figure it's time to jump in. I come into this conversation with some trepidation, knowing that a) many of the people who are doing the talking have been thinking about these issues far longer than I have; and b) this arena is already criticized for having far too many talkers and too few doers. But I believe that developing and thinking critically about a new model for news is a significant social challenge, and one that could use all the thinkers (and doers) it can get.
So with that in mind, please feel free to comment, ask questions, rebut or challenge my work here. The future of journalism is not a zero-sum game: The more we all know about where it’s headed, the better off we all are.