More People Realizing That The News Finds Them... Not The Other Way Around

from the locking-up-news-doesn't-make-sense dept

We've been talking for a while about how these days, news is increasingly likely to find people rather than people finding news. This is a key point to understand in developing any kind of news related business model. It's about understanding how "passed links" or "earned links" are increasingly important. Many old school newspaper execs still think of news consumption via the old model: that someone chooses to go to a newspaper website and read through the news. But that's increasingly rare. Instead, the more common stories are the ones like Gina Chen explains, where news found her on Twitter. She didn't go looking for the particular story about the magazine Gourmet closing -- she spotted it because someone she followed who worked there mentioned it. People are increasingly getting important news from their social network "passing links" or even just passing on the news directly, rather than going to some centralized hub and "finding" the news

This doesn't mean the old model is dead, but it's less important, and less a part of the news ecosystem as it used to be. And you know what's death for news "finding" people? A paywall. If content is behind a paywall, I'm much less likely to send it out to anyone else or let anyone know about it. It's just not worth creating that kind of hassle for others. Newspapers that decide to put up such a paywall are actively putting up a barrier to one of the major promotion and distribution mechanisms in how people find and consume news these days. It's difficult to see how that makes any sense at all.


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  1.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 8th, 2009 @ 6:27pm

    NY effin' T

    Just today I got an email from the NYT (I had signed up for their tech updates.) I clicked through an interesting link (a rare event these days, because by the time they email me I've probably seen it.) And I got a login screen.

    Now, it's not quite a paywall, it's more of a nagwall. But I still said 'frak 'em' and went on with my day.

    No chance I'm going to actually give anyone money for that crap.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 6:44pm

    Re: NY effin' T

    If special interest groups start lobbying the government to find ways to restrict blogs and other "mom and pop" news outlets in order to give mainstream media an unlevel playing field you might end up having to pay extra (ie: on top of your ISP fees) for anything. It's important that we, as consumers, also "lobby" the government and ensure that they pay no attention to special interest groups that want to censor important news and opinions from us while brainwashing us with their opinions and have successfully controlled (and continue to control) the mainstream media to do just that for a long time.

     

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  3.  
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    Robin, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 7:27pm

    No More Hierarchies

    i know i'm harping this:

    http://cluetrain.com/

    from 1999!:

    "Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy."

    and

    "People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products."

    seem like appropriate points...again :).

     

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    TheStupidOne, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 8:11pm

    Re: No More Hierarchies

    which is why amazingly successful companies employ business strategies that focus on making their customers happy. happy customers come back for new things, they ask you to repair what's broken (even if you a little charge more), they refer their friends, they start fan clubs ... you get the picture

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 8:36pm

    What is really funny is that you have mistaken the order in which she visited sites as replacing one with the other.

    Had she not seen the Gourmet magazine tweet on someone's site, she would likely have seen it somewhere else, on cnn, on the evening news, a headline on the newspaper in the guy in the next seat in the subway the next day, people chatting about it at the watercooler, etc.

    Twitter isn't replacing news sites, it's just replacing email and IM as they way some people are guided to the news, nothing more.

     

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  6.  
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    Yeebok (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 12:14am

    @AC : I don't watch the news so it's understandable the gourmet subject would have missed it without Twitter.
    Do you USE Twitter ? "on someone else's site" - it quite possibly arrived as an SMS on her mobile.

    Get a name, will you ?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 8:13am

    Re:

    Names don't mean much, we debate ideas here.

    It could have some as an SMS. It could have come as she scanned tweets. It could have come as an email forwarded from her sms because her phone wasn't reachable. Who knows?

    The only point is this: The girl would not live in a bubble, had she not found out this way, she would have found out other ways. As I mentioned, she might have seen the news reading a newspaper over someone else's shoulder in the subway, or whatever.

    It would be silly to think that she would never in her life know. At worst, she would find out next month when she went to buy the magazine (how quaint an idea that is) and discovered it wasn't there. She would still be informed, albeit somewhat more slowly.

     

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  8.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 9:10am

    News finding people

    I agree, but from a slightly different slant.
    I think the "news" today is too much some arrogant, ill-informed, biased "commentator", who, after an initial surge of interest due to an apparently new approach, becomes a reason not to listen.
    As a result, news is not important UNLESS it finds you! After the initial spike because something is new to you, why would you want to listen to the opinions of, say a doper ranting against dopers, like Rash Limburger, or whatever his name is.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 9th, 2009 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re:

    "The girl would not live in a bubble, had she not found out this way, she would have found out other ways."

    She *could* have found out about it other ways. That doesn't mean it's likely. *I* probably would never have found out if Mike in turn didn't post about it.

    You see how this works?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Re:

    Which is Mike's point?

    Twitter is a means, not the model. I have no idea why you're so hung up on it, since Mike only mentioned it once from a very specific example.

    The point isn't that some specific technology is the key to the news doorway, it's that EVERY technology is replacing news as a centralized hub. You made the point yourself, but just didn't realize it:

    "The girl would not live in a bubble, had she not found out this way, she would have found out other ways."

    Exactly. This is EXACTLY Mike's point: news comes to you now, even if you're not actively seeking it out.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 12:38pm

    test test

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    People Finding News

    What I have observed over the years though is that the kind of news that goes out and "finds" people often has an agenda behind it that powers it and enables it to do so and is less reliable than information that I go out and dig up on my own. Sure, the kind of "news" that "finds you" may be more entertaining (seemingly the most important thing to many people) and filtered to align with your preconceived views, but does that really make it better? And it's a lot easier too since it just comes to you.

    I guess it depends on what kind of news you want: Quick, easy and fun, but tainted and perhaps unbalanced, or more difficult to get but also more reliable and higher quality once you do. Kind of like deciding what kind people you want to date.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 10:29pm

    Re: People Finding News

    Except you're missing something here as well.

    Most of the news that "finds you" isn't the stuff that's being jammed into your vision unrequested. It's the stuff from RSS feeds that you enjoy, Twitter posts that you follow, forum links that you stumble upon, news links that friends email you...

    A lot of it is just told to you second-hand, like someone saying "Hey, did you hear about...?". Information like that you hear about then actively search a deeper understanding of.

    The idea isn't that news articles start trickling towards you, and that suddenly becomes your entire knowledge base. It's that information is flowing so freely that going to a single place for news, or even seeking out news yourself, is less likely to happen than stumbling on interesting news completely by accident.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2009 @ 6:36am

    Re: Re: People Finding News

    It's the stuff from RSS feeds that you enjoy, Twitter posts that you follow, forum links that you stumble upon,...

    Except that isn't news "finding you", that's news from sources that you've found and selected.

    ...news links that friends email you...

    Unsolicited email, even if from friends, family, etc. Now you're starting to talk about the kind of selective, filtered news that "finds you". I've found that the selectivity often tells me more about the source of the news than the news itself.

    A lot of it is just told to you second-hand, like someone saying "Hey, did you hear about...?".

    And I've heard some real whoppers like that. Not exactly what I'd consider a reliable channel but I'm amazed at the number of people who seem to think it is.

    The idea isn't that news articles start trickling towards you, and that suddenly becomes your entire knowledge base.

    For many people it does. They almost never do any investigation on their own.

    It's that information is flowing so freely that going to a single place for news, or even seeking out news yourself, is less likely to happen than stumbling on interesting news completely by accident.

    Because just sitting back and accepting the news that happens to come to you is far easier that going out looking for yourself.

     

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