December 08, 2008

Old Media Out Of Touch in the New World

By Jesse Stay of Stay N' Alive (Twitter/FriendFeed)

In this era of high-speed Internet connections, satellites, wireless connections, cell phones, and computers, our world is increasingly becoming connected. Currently, there are enough cell phone connections to cover half the world's population, and they reach places traditional internet connections never ever could. I think it's partly this, and the massive network, that makes Twitter so popular, and an increasingly useful tool for finding news, where it happens, from the source. Nevermind Twitter though - you have Facebook, where friends and family find out news, again from the source, where it happens. You have YouTube, where people are recording and uploading video, which spreads to their friends. You now have live-streaming video, through services such as Qik and Kyte, all bringing news to you, from the source, un-edited, as it happens, in a very visual format.

I was on a panel Friday here in Salt Lake City, Utah, where I was the blogger amongst two traditional media reporters. One was Paul Foy, an AP news reporter, and the other was Fields Mosley, a broadcast journalist and anchorman of the local TV news station, KUTV.  It's no wonder, with the increasingly connected world we have, that both Fields and Paul were seemingly afraid that their jobs could very well be gone in the near future. (I can't even find a page for Fields on Google)

As the blogger of the group, I was obviously the least experienced in the field of journalism. I actually felt quite awkward at times feeling they thought I was out of place, and was that "guy who sits in his pajamas in his parents' basement". (I actually brought that up, mentioning only half of it was true - I'm actually at Jiffy Lube as I write this, awaiting my car to receive its safety and emissions certification.  And yes - I'm dressed.) However, in reality, in a room of PR and marketing professionals in the tech field, they were actually the ones out of place, and I think that became evidently clear as one of the audience members asked who in the audience had published some sort of content about the event we were in during the event. Almost all of the audience, including me, rose their hands. The traditional news reporters were the only ones without their hands raised, further showing the sad state of our news media today.

We seem to be getting to the point where most news reporters simply aren't needed these days!

The panel argued that many bloggers and online journalists are getting their news out faster because they don't edit and don't spend much time on the content they publish. That's very true, and side-by-side (for the most part), these guys' writing or reporting would be much better than ours.  I believe the two in this panel were both very respectful, smart, and reputable journalists. However, these guys seemingly don't get where media is moving. The point they're missing is that bloggers are getting the news out faster, plain and simple. People forgive the editing when they know they're getting it, as it happens, from the source. Rumors may spread quickly in social media, but the thing is - so do facts to correct those rumors. It's easy to tell what's true and what's false in social media because the majority always rules, and one or two of those majority are always the source.

The other argument they were making, which also to me reflects on why traditional journalists will be gone in a matter of years, is that they actually thought that we bloggers get our news from them. One of them hinted at the fact that we sit there watching TV, writing about the content they post. When in reality we're the ones getting the news first, before they even know about it, and because they don't look online, they never know it was reporter here first.  Not only that but we're not always reporting it - you see, we don't need to.  We can sit, and discuss with those experiencing the news first-hand, because everyone else is too.  For the first time, reporters and traditional news media seem to be the ones missing out.  

I can get news, from Twitter, as it happens, before any breaking reports come on my cell phone. I don't have a cable subscription, similar to many bloggers, and my news comes faster because of this. No longer do you need the reporter - most people can get the news, from those that are experiencing it, on their own! No intermediary is needed any more.

I've said many times before we're in an era where we all live in a small village.  We know what's happening in our village, talk about it, and get the news from those experiencing it due to many of these Social Media tools.  We don't need reporters to represent that news for us any more.  I find out about earthquakes before anyone else.  I find out about terrorist attacks before anyone else.  I find out about fires before anyone else.  That's how I'm able to report tech news, before anyone else, right here on

Read more by Jesse Stay at Stay N' Alive.