Monday, May 11, 2009

Media Revolution

According to this March post by Clay Shirky ("Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable"):

The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place. The importance of any given experiment isn’t apparent at the moment it appears; big changes stall, small changes spread. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen. Agreements on all sides that core institutions must be protected are rendered meaningless by the very people doing the agreeing.

Guess what? The topic at this point is NOT newspapers.

No, the article is describing the revolution that followed the invention of Gutenberg's printing press in the 15th century.

Of course, the article draws the comparison: what happened when Gutenberg upset the status quo is what's happening with print media now: a revolution. The post describes how the profitable newspaper model worked for centuries, and why it has ceased to work. Who could have predicted that craigslist wasn't just a new internet fluke, but something that would transform industries? The old way doesn't work and the new paradigm (the format and funding for news collection and delivery 20 years hence) is not yet in place. My favorite lines of the piece? "You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone!” has never been much of a business model. and Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism.

No comments: