Beyond breaking news

Matthew Ingram posits why traditional media should be afraid of Twitter. The introduction of hashtag pages could prove to be quite useful, in the least.  And at best, hashtag pages could carve out huge portions of topical audiences.

Twitter has been breaking news quicker than the rest of the internet for awhile now. Today, when I see journalists (especially younger ones) who aren’t using Twitter, it amounts to a journalist in 1970 choosing not to use a typewriter or an AP wire.

Expect to see more ‘lean forward’ work being done on tablets

StorifyStorify has gathered momentum as a great way to put together topical articles in aggregate from social media. And now the service takes another leap forward by bringing out an iPad app.  The mobility of the tablet, along with the fact tablets are heavily used at conferences and meetings, lends well to the type of content you might push into Storify.

Unfortunately, the walled-garden of Facebook prevents that medium from being fully explored via Storify.  Twitter, on the other hand, is a fantastic vehicle for Storify, and I’m convinced that those who underestimate Twitter might gain a better understanding if they see more well-crafted Storify embeds.


First, know where you’ve been

Tom Brokaw, one of the celebri-journalists who often speaks of online news' 'original sin.'

Matthew Ingram at Gigaom calls out one of the current canards in the news industry: Debunking the “original sin” of online newspapers.

The story goes something like this: back in the early days of the web, news executives listened to the ‘everything for free’ online crowd, rather than trusting their business instincts and charging for online content.  In short, the people who were helping newspapers build their websites back in the 90’s ruined everything, and only now can the business be put back on its proper track.

This ‘original sin’ assertion has become an everyday occurrence in newspaper circles.  And it’s bullshit.

The comments following Ingram’s article point to what happened back in the day, such as this one from Mark Potts:

…those of us who were actually working on online newspaper efforts in the ’90s know that the “original sin” claim is just nonsense—there were many efforts to charge for delivery of news content in the early Internet days, and for a variety of reasons, they just didn’t work.

The world of web development and online news is no different than any other discipline. You can’t advance far if you don’t know where you’ve been.  Revisionist history is a tool for the foolish.

I’d argue that for most media organizations, paywalls and other similar ‘pay for content’ models are unlikely to significantly solve long-term problems. Still, there are some possibilities for paid content to pan out going forward, particularly for those who can take advantage of scarcity where it exists.

But the notion that this was a huge opportunity missed from the beginning? That’s a notion coddled by poor research, poor memory, and poor journalism.