Tuesday, November 15, 2005

There's so much discussion of the future of newspapers and news in general these days that it's too much to link to. So I pick out a few that I think have real relevance. One that caught my eye today was this, in the New York Review of Books: The End of News? By Michael Massing. This article discusses the history of the rancor directed at the 'MSM' (Main stream media) from bloggers, pundits, and others (like Mallard Fillmore?).
I told someone recently this all started with Spiro Agnew. I've been vindicated, as Massing starts with Agnew, leads to Reed Irvine and 'Accuracy in Media', thru Rush Limbaugh and Fox News to blogs. The article also discusses the current administration's rush to close access to information. Disturbing stuff, but it's good to look at this whole story with some historical perspective; and to think about what the news doomsayers are doing to the future of information:
If the newspaper industry continues to shrink in response to the unrealistic expectations of Wall Street, the loss would be incalculable. The major metropolitan dailies, for all their faults, are the main collectors and distributors of news in America.

This is the first of two articles.

On another note, the Media Center at the University of Minnesota has created Digital Think, a look at the future of news presentation from many thinkers in several fields.

It's very pretty and has some interesting things to say, but it's all in Flash. I don't like Flash, at least for news presentation. Part of my revulsion is from having only dialup access (this site doesn't actually work too badly on dialup), but I hated it before. I don't get it. If you want to get information out, make it simple. Text works for stories. Photos and animation are nice, but I don't think they hold interest except as a 'oh, that's cool' moment. Anything that makes you click lots of times to find out what's in there loses me pretty quickly. And I love photos, and wish there were more on news sites. But if you have to go to a special 'presentation' to see them, I don't. Just give me the thumbnails and let me click on the ones I want to see.

(End of dinosaurish rant. Actually I'm being a bit hard. I do enjoy Flash presentations, games, etc. sometimes. But lately I usually just stop loading because I don't want to wait. If I had DSL I might think differently. Check with me next year. But seriously, there are lots of Net users who really just want to read stories. And it seems to me the strength of professional news is great writers. Let them write, and don't chop their stories into pieces.)


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