Thursday, May 10, 2007

More big media woes

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit and Robert McChesney of Free Press have an interesting back and forth in the L.A. Times on the state of big media. I tend to favor Reynolds' views on media as I have read about, as listened to, them for years on his site. He doesn't argue for the entire dissolution of big media, but he is quick to point out its current transformation into a more integrated and collective news delivery system. Money quote from Reynolds:

Hard-news reporting—actual facts, not opinion—remains the "killer app" for Big Media. But they're not making proper use of their structural advantages there, and those advantages are likely to weaken over time. Already, as I've mentioned, journalists like Michael Yon and Michael Totten are reporting from Iraq with interviews, photos, and video that in many ways surpass the work of virtually all big media reporters. Likewise, local-news websites are starting to challenge local newspapers, taking advantage of drastic cuts in hard-news reporting budgets there.

Right now, traditional media organizations are still in a much better position overall to cover actual news than citizen journalists. They've got the infrastructure, the training, and the experience. But those advantages are eroding daily as technology shifts in favor of smaller operations, and as citizen journalists gain experience and audience. Will Big Media change in time? They will if they're smart—which is to say, probably not.

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