The Australian: Future of News

Brilliant article from Mark Day Opens in a new tab.today: I’ve just grabbed a few paragraphs, read the whole thing yourself 🙂 )

Fairfax media puts future of newspapers under spotlight
There are three kinds of news: happening, manufactured and revealed.
Happening news is a jumbo jet explosion at 10,000m or a car crash at peak hour. It can be of great consequence, affecting the lives of many, or it can be inconsequential by dint of it being far away, on another continent. (more)
Manufactured news is, at its most important, the outcome of, say, a prime ministerial press conference to announce a tax cut or a new policy initiative. At its most inconsequential, it is a press agent dropping a par to a gossip columnist about who disgraced themselves at a client’s A-list party thrown to promote a product.The third kind of news is that which someone does not want you to know. This is the information revealed by journalistic endeavour, through the digging of experienced reporters prying into the likes of political malfeasance, corporate or council corruption, police or judicial foul-ups or administrative incompetence.

Revealing news has been almost exclusively the province of agenda-setting or campaigning newspapers and it most certainly has a cost to those who produce it. Getting the information against the wishes of those who would hide it, navigating privacy and legal restrictions and defending defamation actions designed to stop investigations can be very expensive. It is time-consuming and often unrewarding, in the sense that a lot of time and effort can be wasted by going up blind alleys, and even when important revelations are made they fall on the barren grounds of apathy. But it is also the most important kind of news any society can have. Without it, the foundations of democracy are threatened. If we lose the ability of journalists to shed light on the workings of our governments and communities, we lose a vital pillar of democracy. (more)

Sometimes when companies – good, honest, trustworthy companies, I assume – ask me how to stop staff from blogging their secrets I have a flash. An intimation that there will be more bloggers like Anonymous Magistrate (revealing the inner workings of court) or Anonymous National Health Service Doctor (ditto, duh).
Journalists have sources that reveal important society-critical items of news to them. And they use social networks – heres the Australian version on Facebook of Help A Reporter

You’re reading the “I AM A SOURCE” page. If you’re a JOURNALIST who’s LOOKING for sources, click here.

This list was originally conceived on Facebook, but since Facebook caps group emails at 1,200 people, this is the next incarnation.

Each day, you’ll receive up to three emails, each with anywhere from 15-30 queries per email. They’ll all be labeled with [shankman.com] in the subject line, for easy filtering. If you see a query you can answer, go for it! HelpAReporter.com really is that simple.

I built this list because a lot of my friends are reporters, and they call me all the time for sources. Rather than go through my contact lists each time, I figured I could push the requests out to people who actually have something to say.

These requests only come from reporters directly to me. I never take queries from that other service, I never SPAM, and I’m not going to do anything with your email other than send you these reporter requests when they arrive in my in-box.

When journalists need sources, yep, they turn to their social networks. But now the sources are blogging and publishing themselves. How disruptive is that?

A couple of years ago, I wrote about the possibility of no longer needing a Canberra Press Gallery – what if politicians did the ‘leaking’ themselves via trusted bloggers. What if the sources that the Press Gallery schmoozed with, had a bigger blog audience than the journalists? What if behind the scenes public servants revealed all anonymously on forums? Sort of like Crikey but with more consumer generated stuff.

Incidentally wasn’t Michael Arrington’s interviews of McCain and Barack Obama telling… no journalist was offered that scoop, only he, as a blogger got the whole “Tech President” thing:

Anybody in the world can say, ‘I have a blog, hey, come talk to me,’ ” Republican strategist Dan Schnur said. “But Mike figured out a way to make sure the campaigns understood they weren’t just talking to him, they were talking to a very influential audience of tech leaders.” (more from LA Times

at around 750,000 readers per blog post, and millions of media impressions (ripples, or quotes) yes, I would say that TechCrunch is ‘very influential’.

I’m not going into the whole “Barack Obama and Social Media” discussion -that’s for another day.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

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