"Old Media" is in big trouble, with newspapers on death watch, TV stations being closed and traditional journalists watching as their livelihood disintegrates around them.
And if you don't think this is going to have an effect on you because you "get your news from the Internet" - think again. Open up Google News and you'll see that most of the stories are aggregated from traditional media outlets. We depend on them to watch, filter and deliver the news to us. Sure, we've come up with a lot of fancy ways to look at it, but it's still coming from the same sources.
This morning in the Vancouver Sun, I read "The old media are the new media - just look at the Sun,"by Stephen Hume, a newsroom veteran, who told a story about buying milk over the years to illustrate his point:
It's a good point. We pay a whack of money to get on the Internet, we pay for cable TV and we pay to go to the movies. Why do we figure that we shouldn't have to pay for information that comes from our computer?
Think milk. In my day, I've bought milk in bottles delivered to my doorstep every morning, at the supermarket in plastic bags that fit into reusable jugs, at my local gas station in waxed cardboard cartons, at the all-night convenience store in plastic blimps, in cans and in tetra packs. The medium of delivery may change but milk is milk and I don't expect to get it free because the package changes. The price I pay for milk enables farmer and cow to produce it.
Journalism is the content cow. News organizations are the farmer. Both represent input costs recouped by charging for the output.
It may be that people won't pay for it, but then the price should be included in the charges that we pay to Shaw and Rogers and Bell for our Internet access. We need to support writers and editors who deliver the news.
For more on the death of the Rocky Mountain News, read this Salon article, written by one of the staffers who watched it unfold. A sad tale, beautifully told.