Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Their Problem is Us"

I've been writing about newspapers a lot lately. My position is that I think a new breed of news orgs are going to pop up in their place. There is almost an unlimited amount of knowledgeable people out there, willing to contribute their thoughts and insights. They'll make money in different ways, but probably not directly from journalism. And Google will help us find them. That's a very important thing that most traditional journalists don't realize, yet.

I love this extended quote from Fred Wilson in response to Murdoch's recent comments.

"News Corp can easily block Google from crawling its pages at the WSJ, NY Post, and elsewhere. They can also sue Google and litigate for a rev share or whatever else it is that Rupert wants from Google.
But here's the thing. Google is distribution. It is the newsstand. If Rupert or any other newspaper owner chooses to take its content out of the Google index, there will be plenty of content left that can take its place.
Google is not News Corp's problem. Their problem is us. We know a lot. But we don't own a printing press. And that's a good thing. Because printing presses are expensive. But we do own a computer and many blogging services are free. The explosion of "user generated content" has created some very compelling news services in all sorts of verticals. Not just tech, but finance, fashion, music, travel, lifestyle, and on and on. And there are a bunch of companies like Seeking Alpha that are aggregating up the best user generated content in verticals and creating awesome news, information, and entertainment services." -- Fred Wilson, You Can't The Newspaper Out of the Stand 

People are going to continue to self organize into little groups of Readers & Contributors. Seeking Alpha is just that, Ben's Friends (patient to patient support networks) is another flavor of that. At first, the pure journalism will be a trickle, but once people figure out they have a captive distribution channel that also happens to be free, journalists will gravitate to these networks. The smart ones will do it and figure out how to make money later. They already are.