Fascinating To See How Journalists React To Clay Shirky's Thoughts On Journalism
from the microcosm dept
A few people have sent in journalist Tom Watson's response to Shirky, and it's somewhat surprising. It's as if we read two different things -- even though the links are to the same Shirky writeup. I read Shirky's analysis as a huge burst of optimism. It's a "hey, things are crazy now, but check out what's coming next." Watson read it as an obituary for journalism, apparently assuming that Shirky's tone was to say that journalism is over. He reads Shirky's explanation of why bad newspaper business models failed (they all tried to recreate the old inefficient market) to mean that nothing will succeed. It's as if he skipped over most of Shirky's analysis.
Then, there's venerable TV newsman Charlie Gibson, who apparently was asked about Shirky's analysis (without it being clear if he'd read it) and responded that Shirky is "full of crap." He then proceeded to go back and try to re-inflate every discarded and failed idea in newspaper business models, falsely claiming the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is "gone" (it lives on online) and blaming "young people" for reading the news for free online as well as Google for bringing about the downfall of newspapers.
When asked what to do, he fell back on the idea of charging for news -- but never answered any of the important questions such a plan needs to address. Instead, he just seemed to think that the only way to pay for news is if the consumers each pay for it.
Remember, this is Charlie Gibson. The anchor of ABC World News Tonight. On ABC. Which is free. To consumers. It's supported by advertising. But, according to Charlie Gibson... that's impossible. I guess it's his viewers' fault for watching him for free or something... You want to know why people are turning to alternative sources? Perhaps it's because they're smart enough to realize that when Charlie Gibson -- whose face and voice beams into millions of peoples' homes for free every night -- says that people who get their news for free are destroying an industry, perhaps there are better sources from which to get their news.