Scripting News for 10/13/2006

On Countdown, they report there are now 6,000 British soldiers in Iraq. At the peak, there were 40,000. 

St Louis won Game 2 of the NLCS, 9-6. Oy. 

Fry’s is selling 400GB drives for $95. I bought one. πŸ™‚ 

What comes after Who Knew What When 

Jeff Jarvis is at a conference at Harvard today about the future of news.

The LA Times sent its reporters out to find out what its future is.

Dan Gillmor says his readers know more than he does, of course they do, this is another way of saying that you have more than one or two readers. It’s so obvious, but that’s okay, people often miss what’s obvious. Sometimes the more obvious it is the more people miss it.

What’s happening to news is what’s happening to everything. The readers are becoming the writers. Anything the LA Times does that fails to embrace this phenomenon will not work.

News is not like the symphony, it’s like cooking dinner.

And should we really be trying to save the news organizations we have? This is a serious question. I go back and forth. At breakfast yesterday, a group of us were discussing the Foley scandal. We had also watched a Bill Moyers show where they revealed the details of the Tom Delay scandal, which was much deeper and more insidious than the Foley scandal. Yet the press has focused on the less interesting one, presumably based on the assumption that the reader or viewer would not understand the Delay scandal. But be clear, it was their choice to go this route, no reader or viewer made the decision, they did. I think it was because they knew how to proceed. It was a question of Who Knew What When. Iraq, Katrina and Delay do not fit that template. So I have to wonder whether we should be concerned if CNN or MSNBC or the LA or NY Times are in trouble, if the only story they know how to report is WKWW.

In any case, I’ve laid out the roadmap quite a few times. When we look back in a few years, I’m totally sure this will have turned out to be the way it went. In ten years news will be gathered by all of us. The editorial decisions will be made collectively, and there will be people whose taste we trust who we will turn to to tell us which stories to pay attention to. Instead of three of these, there will be thousands if not tens of thousands. One for every political persuasion, one for every mood, demographic, age range, maybe even by geography. The role of gatekeeper will be distributed, as will the role of reporter. Very few people, if any, will earn a living doing this, much as most of us don’t earn a living by cooking dinner, but we do it anyway, cause you gotta eat.

Change comes slowly but change comes.

You can try to hold the world in place so your life continues to make sense, but the world is too big and you’re too small, change comes, eventually, no matter how much you think it shouldn’t.

It’s easier for readers to become reporters than it is for reporters to become readers.

8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Derek Willis on October 13, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    It is inaccurate to say that the press did not invest the time and effort in reporting about Tom DeLay. See the Washington Post’s extensive coverage of DeLay, among others. And many newspapers and television networks poured hundreds of thousands into coverage of Katrina – not that it was perfect, mind you, but suggesting that the Foley case got more coverage than either DeLay or Katrina in major newspapers is wrong (unless, of course, you have some evidence to back this up that you haven’t declared). Full disclosure: I work at the Washington Post.


  2. Posted by Todd Kitta on October 13, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    Sorry Dave, looks like STL is gonna take this one… see you in my town tomorrow. πŸ˜‰


  3. Okay, this is as good as I can do.

    Read it, or not.

    Unfortunately, my blog stats are telling me that the only thing people read are Daily Show-like satirisms, and an occasional truth.

    So in honor of The Scripting News and the Father of Blogging (that’s Dave), I am reproducing a fictional truth, but a possibility. I call it a Flog.

    News, is, indeed, like cooking dinner.

    But we create the dinner, and we are all responsible for what has happened in this country.

    It all started, in my less than humble opinion, with the idiots who said Nader was the answer. They’re those folks who said Gore and Bush were the same.

    I say, and said at the time, they are and were not.

    You can bitch all you want about politics, but it’s all pretty easy, even if you think the voting rolls are skewed by corruption. Vote. Vote anyway.

    I grew up in Chicago. I still vote. Religously.


  4. Actually, this post seems like fiction to me.

    Quantum physics and all.

    Here is the reality:


  5. Cooking dinner. I like it.


  6. Last time I checked, there were lots of people making money cooking for a living. There’s the restaurant trade, street vendors/concessions, catering, live-in cooks and nannies, and even stay-at-home parents who cook and run the house so that their partner can earn money.

    But the big money in cooking is on the corporate side, where multi-national corporations do a big volume of prepared and pre-cooked foods, in addition to their restaurant chains. The capacity of individuals to do their own cooking with a daily increasing variety of ingredients and cookbooks hasn’t created a world of cooks. If anything, the trend is in the direction of having someone else cook or prepare your meals for reheating.

    Extending the metaphor to news, I don’t see people en masse abandoning major news organizations. I think instead they’ll continue to change the way they find and assess the value of news and information, giving more weight to independent sources than they have in the past. News institutions are losing their unchallenged dominance, but they’ll still be a factor for a long time to come.


  7. Dave, your point to that $95 400GB hard drive must have sold a bunch of them — the price is now changed to $190 and there’s a limit of ‘4 per household’


  8. Rex, dang it! Saw your post about the Nobel Laureate from Tennesee. That’s really cool. That’s the kind of thing you want everyone claiming credit for.

    Eric, I am aware that there are professional cooks. I’m not one of those radicals who say that the pros are doomed. I don’t know if they are or aren’t, but I am sure that individuals are going to have to be smart, conscious and not live in denial in order to make what is bound to be a very profound transition. Such are the times we live in (although I imagine, from reading of other generations, that we all feel that way, no matter what times we live in).

    Peace brothers and sisters and LETS GO METS!


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