Blue Screen Of Duds

Where the alter ego of codelust plays

Long live the deadwood edition

with 4 comments

Only if you were to believe Scoble, Dave, Don and countless others have to say on the matter. The problem is not as simple as it is put across, especially in a country like India, where the trends are quite opposite to what it is in the west. The same is the case with the the solution, it is not as simple as retooling and retraining journalists. The scope actually is much wider than having media set ups that are finding it hard to survive in an online world, a lot of the failings of traditional media is also seen in the online sphere too. Just being an online journalist does not automatically guarantee you any chance to survive.

Yes, print is in a lot of trouble, but that’s basically due to latency. By the time most of us get the newspaper in hand, we already know what has happened, mostly through television and you get near-instant feedback and analysis (often much better than what the talking heads spew on-screen) through blogs, memetrackers and other tools. That essentially leaves you with the hotseat in the toilet or the long commute as the only places where you would require print, neither of which are safe bets to base any business model on.

That said, even newfangled online operations are not any safer these days. Once upon a time, I used to follow El Reg, CNet, Infoworld and The Inquirer on a daily basis to get my fix of tech-related news, today I unsubscribed from all those in my RSS reader. The problem really is not that they don’t publish interesting things. The problem is that they publish late, often way too late and the days of publications by themselves driving a reader’s association with itself, than being led by context and topics, is now long gone. Be it print or be it online, the problem remains the same.

What aggregators like Techmeme, Google News and Topix have done is to aggregate content around topics that are dynamic. A New York Times website or a Washington Post website does not have a fluid navigation set up. It does not change in terms of what users are reading the most and just doing tags is not a way around it. The more I see things, the more I am convinced that eventually all websites will have a primary navigation that will be topic driven, with the regular inflexible and staid navigation pushed back as a legacy application or a fallback.

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Written by shyam

March 26, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Media

4 Responses

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  1. […] Long live the deadwood edition […]

  2. We’ve had this discussion before sir, and I still believe that print through the very fact that it has adapted to competition before face online better than TV. TV, I feel is in deeper shit than print when it comes to the net…. anyway we’ll take this forward over a drink, what say?


    March 26, 2007 at 2:48 pm

  3. Kji,

    I would largely agree with the statement that print has adapted better and hey, we still have radio around, whose demise was predicted decades ago. I think most of the future-looking predictions are based on the assumption that print will just sit there and do nothing. And strangely, at least in the print space, it is the Indian landscape that’s seen more innovation (yeah, I know most people puke twice over at the mention of the Medianet model) than anywhere in the West.

    Honestly, I don’t think anyone’s safe yet. At least in terms of the medium, we’ve not seen any significant improvements either in telly (HDTV does not count) or print or computers. Largely, we are still shoving bits and bytes over HTTP, cutting down trees and having a very one-sided affair with the idiot box. We are due a major revolution or two and when it hits us, it should be a fun thing to watch.

    And print (at least the major ones) still produce better articles than anything else, with a somewhat cost-effective and proven way of doing it. The killer is the latency, if we can take it out of the system, it should rock. Right now, it is mostly a technology-based issue and good tech should always be obscured from the guys who churn out the story.

    In effect, I think what I am saying is that it is upon guys like us who tailor to technology to help bring in the changes.

    A drink is always welcome, esp considering tomorrow is a holiday!


    March 26, 2007 at 3:05 pm

  4. so it depends on what the reader/viewer wants – perspective, breaking news or writing. For online, distribution is an issue, but it has an edge – it can do everything that is possible with other media, and then some more. Am most bullish on wireless (not necessarily cellular) media in the long term. Apropos your point about print producing better articles than anything else – remember, it’s about people. They can switch.
    All a matter of time….but I would say that, wouldn’t I? :)


    March 28, 2007 at 6:26 pm

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