Jarvis Coffin: New media, same as old, old media.

Nic Brisbourne, a partner at venture firm, DFJ Esprit, has an article in paidContent talking about the future of news in a digital age. His view is that it will be, a) highly distributed, b) free, and c) forced into smaller packages. Says he:

"In the digital world, the news industry, like many others, will be radically smaller. This contraction is partly a consequence of much reduced distribution costs, but is also a reflection of the fact that the monopoly rents Fleet Street enjoyed in the last century are a thing of the past."

A similar argument about the need for news (specifically, newspapers) to think small was made in this space earlier this spring.

In arguing that news will come (is coming) in well-distributed, niche packages Nic Brisbourne is setting-up his contention that a new sort of journalism will emerge to organize ongoing news and story-lines by curating the bits and pieces and providing insight and commentary on top. Huffington Post is mentioned as an example. So are TechCrunch and PerezHilton.com.

Mark Cuban was recommending a similar deal to Rupert Murdoch recently, proposing that he aggregate News Corp content from around the world into custom packages if he really wants to try and charge for it. Nic Brisbourne isn't persuaded that charging for content will work. But, still, there is a sort of consensus between them that aggregating and curating information unlocks value.

News has become abundant, Brisbourne says, at a cost of zero. Indeed, hasn't all information? Music has become abundant. So has art, sports, travel, cooking (question: can there possibly be as many recipes in the world as appear available online? Answer: Of course.), pet care advice, child care advice, media and advertising advice, etc.

Information is abundant and free and Nic Brisbourne's argument is that collating the threads of its different parts becomes the scarce source of value.

Excellent. It may interest us all to know, now, that this was the premise of Time Magazine when it was founded. From the Time.com web site:

TIME, founded on the notion that a surplus of news existed which had to be licked into usable shape, felt no need to gather its own news until the 1930s.
From The Story Of An Experiment
Mar. 8, 1948

Aggregation was behind the great networks NBC and CBS when they got going thanks to the invention of radio. It is the premise of my favorite new magazine - one that actually seems to be working - The Week.

This means Nic Brisbourne is definitely on to something, which is that the future of news and information is largely the same as it has been. New media will evolve (is evolving) around the specialized aggregation of information and content (e.g. Huffington Post: breaking news and opinion; PerezHilton: celebrity gossip; TechCrunch: new Internet companies and technology).

This is different from the generalized aggregation of audience - as everyone with a portal model found out early into the Internet revolution. But don't blame them for missing the point; they were mimicking what seemed like the successful model that main stream media had become. Wrong. Not successful. Almost impossible to sustain at super-size levels. Per Nic Brisbourne :

"The great tragedy of the newspaper industry in the late 20th Century was that, in the pursuit of profit, quality journalism became a dying art. Budgets were reduced, journalists were asked to write more stories per day and were given less time to check facts. At the same time, editors were instructed to avoid stories that might create controversy and the expense of lawsuits. The result was more and more bland articles recycled from paper to paper, more politically motivated editing and the collapse of public trust in the newspaper industry."

When I think about media over the last 30 years I think about the gradual dumbing down of content in order to appeal to a lower and lower common denominator. Fundamentally, we may regard the Internet as a total re-boot to what it was when pamphleteers dotted the media landscape.

Will history repeat? One hopes that the vastness of the new media landscape and its minimum barriers to entry for would-be publishers will postpone that possibility into the very, very distant future.


Wil Shipley: ‘On Heuristics and Human Factors’

It’s easier to write about programming from a logical perspective. It’s harder to write about programming how software feels — explaining how much work and thought goes into seemingly small details that don’t really effect what the software can do but rather how it feels to use it. It’s like the difference between writing about cameras and writing about photography.

This piece by Wil Shipley captures it.

Twitter as Diary: DJ AM And Beyond

am_8-28The sad, shocking passing of DJ AM (Adam Goldstein) last night had a new media twist to it.

On his active Twitter feed, the final cryptic tweet came at 2:57pmET on Tuesday. It provides a personal look at a person who lived his life out in the open – and Twitter became a diary as it has for other celebrities.

Goldstein’s final tweet was a line from the Grandmaster Flash song, “New York, New York”:

“New york, new york. Big city of dreams, but everything in new york aint always what it seems.”

Many of DJ AM’s past tweets related to promoting his upcoming DJ gigs and discussing his upcoming MTV show Gone Too Far – a cruelly ironic twist to the story, since the show was based around Goldstein helping kids get over drug addiction.

But the insight provided on his Twitter feed is an example of a growing trend. It started for celebrities with Ashton Kutcher (@AplusK), and for athletes with Shaquille O’Neal (@The_Real_Shaq). The reason celebrities appreciate Twitter so much is because it allows them to control the message – but when they want personal messages out there, or real, raw interaction with fans and followers, that option is there as well. Some celebrities on Twitter use it essentially as a promotional tool. But not all.

We saw another example of this last week, as NBA star Michael Beasley sent some alarming tweets two days before entering rehab. When something traumatic happens in a person’s life, there are cases where their Twitter feed provides an archived diary of the individuals unrestrained emotion. And it can be very telling.

We’ve written about Chad Ochocinco’s no-holds-barred tweeting, which includes everything from live-streaming himself watching himself on HBO’s Hard Knocks to real-time reaction to getting fined today (and likely to get fined again because of the Twitter reaction). For now, Ochocinco’s Twitter feed provides a fun outlet. But other athletes, like Stephon Marbury, give access to those who are interested that shows someone strongly in need of help.

The new world of social networking celebrities is a double-edged sword. While they enjoy a closer relationship with fans and the ability to spin their message, when they lose control, it suddenly becomes very public as well. What if Heath Ledger was on Twitter? How about Michael Jackson?

The death of DJ AM – famous and accessible – means those who followed him closely, despite not ever having met the man, will feel the loss that much more.

—–
» Follow Steve Krakauer on Twitter

Murdoch’s Son: BBC Expansion Is “Chilling,” A Threat To Independent Journalism

EDINBURGH, Scotland -- The son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch has called the British Broadcasting Corp. a threat to independent journalism.

James Murdoch, the 36-year-old executive in charge of News Corp.'s businesses in Europe and Asia, spoke late Friday at the Edinburgh International Television Festival -- 20 years after his father delivered a keynote speech at the same event.

"In this all-media marketplace, the expansion of state-sponsored journalism is a threat to the plurality and independence of news provision, which are so important for our democracy," Murdoch said.

The BBC is subsidized by the British government and funded, in part, by television licenses that consumers must pay if they use a television.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. controls British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC, one of the BBC's main competitors in Britain.

"As Orwell foretold, to let the state enjoy a near-monopoly of information is to guarantee manipulation and distortion," Murdoch said, referring to George Orwell's book, "1984."

He said broadcasting policy had failed to keep pace with changes, relying on regulation and intervention from the state rather than empowering consumers.
Story continues below

Greg Dyke, the BBC's former director general, said Murdoch's argument was "fundamentally flawed."

"Journalism is going through a very difficult time -- not only in this country but every country in the world because newspapers, radio and television in the commercial world are all having a very rough time," he said.

Dyke said it was not the fault of the BBC that the recession and loss of advertising revenues had hampered news organizations.

Last month, a journalist told a British parliamentary committee that James Murdoch approved an out-of-court payment to settle a controversial phone hacking case.

News of the World editor Colin Myler said that Murdoch was told that 700,000 pounds ($1.1 million) would be paid to settle a case against the company.

The suit was brought by Gordon Taylor, head of the Professional Footballers' Association, one of the targets of the hacking.

The allegations against the News of the World, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. empire, have been waged as part of a wider scandal concerning journalistic abuses.

"In this all-media marketplace, the expansion of state-sponsored journalism is a threat to the plurality and independence of news provision, which are so important for our democracy," Murdoch said.

The BBC is subsidized by the British government and funded, in part, by television licenses that consumers must pay if they use a television.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. controls British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC, one of the BBC's main competitors in Britain.

"As Orwell foretold, to let the state enjoy a near-monopoly of information is to guarantee manipulation and distortion," Murdoch said, referring to George Orwell's book, "1984."

He said broadcasting policy had failed to keep pace with changes, relying on regulation and intervention from the state rather than empowering consumers.

Greg Dyke, the BBC's former director general, said Murdoch's argument was "fundamentally flawed."

"Journalism is going through a very difficult time – not only in this country but every country in the world because newspapers, radio and television in the commercial world are all having a very rough time," he said.

Dyke said it was not the fault of the BBC that the recession and loss of advertising revenues had hampered news organizations.

Last month, a journalist told a British parliamentary committee that James Murdoch approved an out-of-court payment to settle a controversial phone hacking case.

News of the World editor Colin Myler said that Murdoch was told that 700,000 pounds ($1.1 million) would be paid to settle a case against the company.

The suit was brought by Gordon Taylor, head of the Professional Footballers' Association, one of the targets of the hacking.

The allegations against the News of the World, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. empire, have been waged as part of a wider scandal concerning journalistic abuses.


Ted Kennedy Memoir ‘True Compass’ Set For September

In the days following Senator Edward Kennedy's death, his story will be told by friends and admirers, fellow politicians, family members, pundits and critics. But when Kennedy's mammoth memoir, True Compass, is published on Sept. 14, readers will be able to experience his life story as told by the Senator himself.


Don Imus’ Path To Fox Business Means More Horse Shows

imus_8-28Don Imus‘ last day on RFD-TV was yesterday (that’s Rural Free Delivery – “Rural America’s Most Important Network” – for you media elites), and all indications point to him joining Fox Business Network soon.

We called over to RFD-TV’s office in Tennessee to find out what replaces the program beginning on Monday. Here’s what some of the friendliest TV people we’ve ever talked to told us.

Imus’ program ran from 6-9amET, and several program will take the space. All are repeats of programs currently airing on the network.

6-7amET: Horse and Country TV

7-7:30amET: Heart to Heart Classics

7:30-8amET: Reno’s Old Time Music Festival

8-8:30amET: AgDay

8:30-9amET: Rotating shows each day

Well there you have it.

If, and when, Imus joins Fox Business Network – we’re hearing an announcement may come as early as next week – there will be more storylines about what it means for the young network. But now we see the end result of an Imus exit – Morning Joe on MSNBC, and the above at his most recent TV stop.

From the joint release earlier this week, the founder of RFD-TV and Imus each gave statements:

Patrick Gottsch, Founder & President of RFD-TV, LLC: “We are so thankful to Don Imus, who has contributed immensely to the unprecedented growth experienced by RFD-TV over the past two years. The awareness created by our carriage of ‘Imus In The Morning’ has led to RFD-TV distribution agreements with Comcast, Verizon FiOS TV, Time Warner, and Cox Cable for our independent channel. We are extremely grateful to Don for all his support.”

Don Imus, Host of “Imus In The Morning”: “I will always appreciate the support of Patrick and RFD-TV in launching the new ‘Imus In The Morning’ program. I wish RFD-TV the best of luck moving forward.”

—–
» Follow Steve Krakauer on Twitter