Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Understanding a new architecture of news

I hate arguing with my wife. Yes, for all the predictable reasons, but also because she so often turns out to be right. (BTW, today is my 30th wedding anniversary; there may be some connection between that and my admission in the previous sentence.)

From my perspective, our discussions typically involve about an hour of her being wildly wrong in multiple different dimensions, culminating when she lands on a final point so fundamentally true and correct that I can only agree. It's great for getting us to the right conclusion, but tough on my editorial-board-trained argumentative ego.

I sometimes feel that way about Jeff Jarvis (apologies to both Barb and Jeff for comparing them), the provocative professor and mediablogger at BuzzMachine. Not long ago, he landed on a conclusion that strikes me as one of those fundamentally correct concepts where the result trumps whatever process produced it. Though I continue to disagree with some of Jeff's conclusions (and, more frequently, with a process that sometimes seems hair-trigger and categorical) I've often credited him here with some of the most thoughtful and useful media analysis around. Add this to the list.

His notion of a "press-sphere" illustrates new relationships between producers and consumers of news (and much more) and offers a good snapshot of the fundamental changes our venerable industry is undergoing. Importantly, it doesn't dismiss the press or professionalism in the process, but does show how the once-linear relationship of producing and consuming has been irrevocably altered. If you want to understand how our role has changed and glimpse where our future lies, you ought to be considering this.

Please take a careful look. Let me (and Jeff) know what you think. It deserves our best thinking.

A taste:

When we put the public at the center of the universe — which is how these charts should be drawn and how the world should be seen, as each of us sees it — we see the choices we all call upon: the press still, yes, but also our peers, media that are not the press (e.g., Jon Stewart), search, links, original sources, companies, the government. It’s all information and we curate it and interact with it with the tools available. And, again, the press stands in a different relationship to the world around it.

(Edited to recognize Jeff's post was earlier than I thought: April 2008).

1 comment:

  1. Dorothy Korber7:13 AM

    "I hate arguing with my wife. Yes, for all the predictable reasons, but also because she so often turns out to be right."

    Grinning here, Howard. Many of us would say that a wife "turning out to be right" IS a predictable reason!