News isn’t about cable. Or newspapers. It’s about us.

Read Dave’s Cable News is Ripe for Disruption. Then Jay Rosen’s Edward Snowden, Meet Jeff Bezos. Then everything Jeff Jarvis has been writing about lately.

Then listen to the August 9 edition of On The Media. Pay special attention to the history of New York’s newspapers, and the strike of 1962-3. Note how vitally important papers back then were to the culture back then, how the strike (by a union tragically committed to preserving a dying technology that employed >100k people) killed off three of the seven papers while wounding the rest, and how that event gave birth to TV news and launched many young journalists (Nora Ephron, Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, et. al.). Listen to other interviews in the show about the history of media, from telegraph to telephony to radio and beyond.  Note also how structural separation assures that the past will have minimal drag on the future, and how laws (e.g. antitrust) learn from bad experiences in the marketplace and society. There’s a lot of other meat to chew on there.

Then, if you’re up for it again (I’ve improved it a bit), read what I wrote here about Al Jazeera giving up on the Net while it goes after CNN, et. al. on cable.

I have only one complete, though provisional, thought about all of it:  TV news is ripe for complete replacement and not just disruption. What will replace it is up to us. (Note: radio is different. I’ll explain why in a later post. On the road right now, so no time.)

Bonus link.

3 comments

  1. Dave Winer’s avatar

    Doc, I agree that disruption might come in the form of replacement.

    The irony of what I was saying in my post is that you could get all that I wanted just by reading their blogs.

    It would be easy to add a conversational dimension to it. In fact, Jay and I used to do it with the Rebooting The News podcast.

    It’s a lot like the original unconference idea, get the conversation from the hallway to show up in the main room. Easy to do once you realize that’s the goal.

    Good post, and thanks for the roundup. We should get some lunch sometime. Miss you. ;-)

  2. Joseph Ratliff’s avatar

    The TV news feels like it’s running around, and having an identity complex.

    One day it feels like a tabloid, the next it feels like it’s struggling to get serious attention (like Kronkite used to do, according to my Dad). They try to bring on “experts” to share “tips”… but it’s just PR.

    It’s. Not. Authentic. Anymore.

    So, yes, it will be replaced. I’m in agreement with Jay Rosen, cable news cannot carry complex ideas in its current form. We have to move away from the “soundbite” type of newscast.

    In short, cable news has to accept its “role” and quit trying to compete for attention.

  3. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Thanks, Dave. Miss you 2. :-) We’ll be better settled in NYC after we simplify a few other things, which should be done by early September. I should also have a bike there by then. (Ping-ponging between Boston, Maine and CA until then.)

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