I enjoyed watching the nicely done video produced by @csuspect (Chris Condayan), The Future of Media in 2008. The video outlines what seems to be an apparent conflict between traditional and new media. “Newpapers are dying. Craigslist is taking over classified. Video is on the web. Radio is on the web. I mean, everybody is trying to get their content on the web, because, that’s where it is headed. Everyone has access to it”, proclaims Scott Stead. “With everything going digital now and the tools being easier than ever for people to edit and create their own content, it’s now possible for anyone essentially to have their own Radio or TV channel” continues Andy Carvin.
So, are the traditional media of newspapers, TV & radio going to really disappear? Since I do not have a crystal ball, I cannot predict the future, but at least I could reflect on it.
The potential of breaking news generated by people who capture great events as they happen is both important and fascinating. But imagine 100 million people with Nokia N95s constantly streaming their videos on the web, in addition to posting their blogs, and audio comments. Some of this barrage of information will be relevant to me or to you but the VAST majority of it will NOT be. A good example is people announcing where they are located at the moment using something like brightkite.com. This barrage will create havoc and actually prevent people to get the real news of the day, the news they do care about.
A potential panacea is applying the first law of simplicity- “REDUCE. The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction” (The Laws of Simplicity, by John Maeda, MIT Press). But, who will reduce the barrage to a manageable portion of the important news?
Maybe the newspapers of today as we know them are going to die if they do not adapt and change their business model, but there will always be a place for media that will sift through the zillion or so news sources, make selections, and present an “outline” or summary (albeit biased) on paper, on the web, TV, or elsewhere. Individuals could influence the selection and writing processes, but much of the routine reading will be done on organized media. A good example for future centralized media is The Huffington Post (see a great discussion by Arianna Huffington, Craig Newmark, and Barry Diller, Moderated by Ken Auletta about this brave new future that took place at the New Yorker Conference 2007). Rome fell, but it was not the end of future empires, states, or politics.