And now…. lose the Building….

WKRN GM Mike Sechrist at Bloggers Convention

Almost a year ago, Mike Sechrist invited me to come down to Nashville for a Bloggers Convention. I had been to plenty of Current.tv ‘meet ups’, but this was different. These were people who were creating a whole new grammar for journalism.

A year later, Sechrist’s experiment is wildly successful. Starting with a small seed group, Sechrist, by honoring the bloggers has given birth to a whole range of voices and ideas and opinions in Nashville that where always there, but could never be heard.

In this month’s Wired, Arianna Huffington is named as the recipient of one of their 22 Rave Awards, looking for creators and innovators who have been catalysts for change. Huffington’s blog, the Huffington Post, started in 2005, is called prescient, even breathtaking. “If its a conversation, let’s start talking”, says Huffington.

Last night we had dinner with one of the top columnists for The Guardian (my favorite newspaper). We noted that despite the massive staff at The Guardian, the bulk of the paper was probably only produced by a handful of people, perhaps 10% of the total staffing, not to mention the cost of the building, the presses, the distribution network and the rest. He is a great columnist, but really a blogger, just on paper. What if you took out the 10% who really make the paper, and set up an online blog with them instead?

In webworld you don’t need the building, the distribution, the printing presses, the paper or most of the staff. As Sechrist is starting to discover in Nashville, in webworld (which carries video) you probably don’t need the building, the vans, the carpeting, the transmission tower. What is Huffingtonpost but a great newspaper without the paper?

When we were at RTNDA two weeks ago, one of the News Directors complained that it seemed more like a Bloggers Association than a news association. Perhaps he was right. Perhaps we are moving on. Perhaps we should create a National Bloggers Association and have a national conference in our own right.

The technology now, for the first time, allows thousands, millions of voices to be heard. It is the ‘long tail’ applied to public discourse. Nothing like this has ever happened before. It has no rules, no grammar yet, and we don’t even know where it is going.

The only thing we know for sure is that we sure are on our way.

2 responses to “And now…. lose the Building….

  1. When I talk about this revolution-in-progress with my colleagues, I often make the same point you made at the end, with a slightly different emphasis. Something along the lines of, “we don’t know exactly where we’re going, we don’t know what it will look like, we’re still learning the grammar of this new language, but we sure as hell know we aren’t rebuilding the past. So if you’re here to hold on to some notion of television in the 1980’s, you’re fooling yourself.”

  2. As Hugh Hewitt says, “it’s 1517 all over again.”

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