Networked News


“…. can anyone help me?”

New technologies often precipitate a completely new way of looking at the world. It is not only jobs or industries that are overturned, but often what were once assumed to be basic rules of society.

This is often very hard for people to grasp.

The invention of the telephone in 1876 caused such a radical change in thinking.

Prior to the invention of the telephone, value was vested in rarity.

If I have something, and no one else does, it is worth a lot. I have the only diamond and no one else has one – it is worth a lot. If I have a diamond but everyone else has one, my diamond’s value is diminished.

This notion of ownership + rarity had been a basic axiom of economics since the first Caine slew Able.

The phone changed all that.

If you have the only phone in the kingdom, what is it worth?

The answer is… nothing. Because there is no one to call.

Your phone’s value increases exponentially as more and more people also have phones. The more people who posses phones, the more your instrument is worth, as it gives you more people with whom you can speak.

The phone turns basic value principles on their head.

This may seem obvious. It is not.

When I was at The BBC, the Corporation decided to introduce Blackberrys (blackberries?) to the staff. Everyone wanted one, of course, but The BBC decided that only senior managers would be allowed to have Blackberrys. It was a ‘hot item’ in those days.

Did this make sense?

Not really.

Who were the senior managers going to text? Each other? (“Hows your blackberry working?’) Their job was to be in constant contact with their teams.. not with each other. The Blackberry might have looked great on their belts ( or maybe not), but as a tool for communication, it was worthless… unless everyone had one.

Now we deal with news and journalism.

Up until now, the ‘value’ of news has been in its rarity.

“Only we’ve got this”, says the local promo.

The search for the ‘scoop’.

This is fine in a linear world – one person delivering ‘the truth’ (or as close as we allow ourselves to come to it) on a nightly basis. “…..and that’s the way it is…”, like Cronkite used to say. But, of course, that was the ‘way it was’ only in CBS’s insular, small, dark offices on West 56th Street.

But we don’t live in a linear world. We live in a networked world now.

And the ‘value’ of the web is in its uncanny ability to rope everyone in all the time.

This is hard to grasp, as we are all used to being ‘viewers’.

But we aren’t. Not any more. We are participants. We are network nodes now. When it comes to eBay, we don’t ‘watch’ eBay, we are eBay. Both users and providers… at the same time. When it comes to MySpace or Facebook, we don’t ‘watch’ MySpace, we are myspace.

And now… The News.

What happens when The News meets The Web?

For the less creative you might say, well now I get to ‘watch’ CNN online… yes, yea, and any time I want.

This is true, but it does not leverage off the true value of a network… a real network.

When it comes to Iraq (for example) what is the ‘value’ of Anderson Cooper?

Well, it is certainly something…. but in all honesty (and nothing personal Anderson), not too much.

But if we are seeking information, what is the ‘value’ of Anderson Cooper plus the entire faculty of Harvard?

Somewhat more?

And what is the ‘value’ of Anderson Cooper plus the entire faculty of Harvar plus all the members of the Council on Foreign Relations and half the population of Baghdad?

More again?

I should say so.

And that is just the tip of what is possible.

With the web it should be possible to create a kind of ‘neural network’ that joins together everyone to participate in a constant, 24-hour a day multilogue about major (and minor) issues.

Will people do this?

I think so.

An article in today’s USA Today says:

“The blogosphere has grown from 100,000 blogs in March 2003 to nearly 73 million in March 2007, according to blog-tracker Technorati. Today the company says it counts some 93.8 million blogs worldwide.”

That is a phenomenal rate of growth. And it tells you something. People are doing this already. They are already all offering information online.. and on their own.

As usual, the ‘News’ organizations are the last to know.

So when our friend Jim Sturges writes that he would go over to this friends at the university and shoot their lectures… nope… They have to join in on their own, when they have something to say. And they will, if we create a space for them… OurSpace, sort of.

News and Journalism can no longer be Katie’s business. It is far too important to leave to any one person (or any one news organization). The future of news (IMHO) is in the network, the global network, one in which everyone participates all the time.

Kind of like an eBay for ideas and information.

Or, as Karl Marx once said, ‘from each according to their ability to each according to their need’.

In a networked world wired for instant information, it kind of makes sense.


19 responses to “Networked News

  1. It’s morning, I have no coffee, and the air condition is possessed…..

    All an excuse for not thinking through the angles before asking a question:

    How do you propose (not necessarily filtering) prioritizing news/information as it develops.

    How do you keep things from getting lost in the noise?

    I pop up the brietbart headlines once an hour through the day, with the thought that if something is important it will get reposted and I won’t miss it. But I do miss things. Things that I might have been interested in but never reposted from one hour to the next because Paris’ dog’s shrink said something “Profound” and now there is only Paris this hour.

    I need coffee.

  2. Michael, you asked:
    “What happens when The News meets The Web?”

    Looks like financial disaster as another revolutionary news web site bytes the dust.
    AP ASAP, the multi-media news web site that combined writing, podcasting and lots of VJs video segments today announced that is going out of business because of lack of interest and of course lack of incoming revenue. ASAP joins who only a few weeks ago announced that it was also quitting.

    Maybe the current methods of delivering news is not really broken like many would like it to be, maybe it only need a little tune-up. Looks like those who are faulting the current methods and screaming for reforms are those who have everything to gain financially by starting their own alternative news services, this regardless what the viewing public wants to see, evidently not dedicated web news sites.

  3. Quoting Marx as a justification? That’ll bring out some interesting comments! 😉

  4. Let me add a little trivia to that.

    Google search and results

    News = one billion, seven hundred and thirty millions

    Video News = one billion, six hundred and sixty millions

    Television news = two hundred and twenty five millions

    VJ news = two millions and two hundred and twenty thousand

    VJ news sites = one million, two hundred and ten thousand

    VJ news reporting = five hundred and twenty thousand

    We can sure use another news site.

    On my dish Network full and part time news channels = 21 including 4 in foreign languages.

  5. Nino
    You are turning into my Number 1 researcher!
    As your work so well proves, there is enormous churn in this realm, and the arrival of more than 2 million VJ news sites alone certainly proves that the “VJ Revolution” is here to stay.
    The churn will continue, and I think we are only at the start. You might find this story of interest as well:

    In a quintessentially Web 2.0 case of “If it got funding, it must be worth a look,” user-generated news site NowPublic hauled in $10.6 million in series A venture capital funding earlier this week, and now the blog community has pounced on it with accolades and criticism alike. NowPublic, in case you haven’t checked it out yet, is a “citizen journalism” site devoted to bringing you news of the user-generated variety–all stories and accompanying photos, videos, and other multimedia are contributed by fellow NowPublic readers. Then, much like Digg, which remains the top name in “social news,” the user base is invited to rank and comment on stories.

  6. Lone VJ news internet news sites.

    The CB radio of today’s journalism.

    Here for now. Gone and laughed about in the future.

    10-4 good buddy!

  7. Frankly Michael, I would much rather measure success on the return on investment rather of what the capital venture investment is.

    Exactly, how will the millions of VJs be benefiting from posting on the site.

  8. i think $ and nino should both be looking at the qtrly.numbers station groups are announcing AND the guidance going forward before they ramble on about roi.

    but, they do have a vested interest in keeping the dinosaur alive.

  9. “As your work so well proves, there is enormous churn in this realm, and the arrival of more than 2 million VJ news sites alone certainly proves that the “VJ Revolution” is here to stay”.

    I would say it’s like more of an infestation than a revolution. If you recall five years ago I told you that when it’s too easy to get into, no discipline and no intelligence required they will all want to get into and they’ll be crawling over each other like ants in search of that little bit of food that’s out there, soon or later the colony will starve to death, and apparently the end of the life cycle has began.

    You have masterfully avoided the issue of AP ASAP going out of business. VJ was becoming a major part of ASAP business along with audio podcasting but apparently the public didn’t buy it, not even with the AP big name. Also keep in mind that these were educated journalist not consumers playing with cameras. Be assured that investors will take a second look at their investments in view of the most recent developments.

  10. #

    invitedmedia // Aug 1st 2007 at 10:55 pm

    i think $ and nino should both be looking at the qtrly.numbers station groups are announcing AND the guidance going forward before they ramble on about roi.

    but, they do have a vested interest in keeping the dinosaur alive.

    I don’t think that you got the picture right, I’m not here to protect the TV industry, I’m here to protect my profession and these poor suckers that believe that there’s a bright future for VJs.

    I asked for months Michael repeatedly to prove me wrong and indeed there are many VJs out there making a living, but do you know how many he was able to produce? 3, and two of them are in England. Not a single one ever came forward to prove that he or she was making any sort of a living from being a VJ, not even to defend Michael, not even here on his own turf. Let’s face it , if you are not making money it’s a hobby not a profession, and also means that nobody care enough to pay for your services.

  11. Well, we have a choice.
    We can believe Nino’s vision of the VJ revolution and the future of media, or we can go with the same people who invested in Apple, Google, and Yahoo.
    Who do you think is right?

  12. Michael, you’ll be making a bundle on investor’s money regardless if the venture is a success or a failure, although in view of recent event I wouldn’t spend the money yet.

    This is a calculated investor’s risk. It’s not in the operation itself that will generate revenue but in the remote chance that it will be acquired for some big bucks by somebody like Google or Yahoo like it happened to youtube. This is risk capital and if it fails is nothing more that some rich investor’s write off. Again what’s in it for those VJs. beside the glory, they are the key of your dreams.

    This isn’t the VJ revolution, this is Michael’s financial evolution. These poor suckers will support you and get absolutely nothing out of it.

    Everyone of the predictions that you made in the last five years have failed. You started with plans of revamping the television industry and ended up teaching consumers how to take better vacation pictures.

  13. I don’t know if this is welcomed perspective, however…

    The (extremely common) misunderstanding of google hits is at play here. Just because searching for VJ News turns up 2 billion hits (or whatever) *bears absolutely no* resemblance to how many VJ news sites there are.

    If you searched for “+VJ + news” then you might be a bit closer to reality (more correctly doing a google search), but only in the same way that Nagasaki is relatively close to Swansea, SC. They both are on the same planet and all.

    Google is a cluster of several thousand small computers that continually scans *every single page* on the web that it can possibly find. It then creates an index of which sites link to other sites (the major innovation that google made.) Thus, if Mr. Rosenblum’s blog has 300 people linking to it from their websites, then his blog will come up higher on the list than someone who has only 200 links to his blog.

    When you search for “VJ News,” you will get a return of every site that has the two letters VJ *or* the word “news” on it, as well as sites that link to them (especially if the link has VJ in it).

    VJ is a very popular acronym for “Victory over Japan.” Understandably, there will be thousands and thousands of sites with VJ as that meaning.

    VJ can also be used for a kind of performance dance artist, a kind of software, a brand of x ray machine, someone who is a DJ with music videos (everyone who is a “Video Jockey,” sells VJ equipment, runs a VJ club, or runs a VJ website, all have websites), the two initials that an HP executive goes by (VJ Joshi), a website that sells crystal skulls, an e-business development firm, a design firm in Scottsdale. I think you get the picture.

    It would be even more ridiculous to try to list every page that has the word Journalist or News, or Web, or Video.

    Searching for Nino gives over 59 million hits. Jim Sturges is a little more reasonable at almost 900,000. What does that information mean? Is Nino therefore less important than Jim Sturges because there are 65 times more hits? Or does it mean that he is more important? It is completely meaningless information.

    Here is a more reasonable search for you:

    allintext: news “video journalist” -japan -victory

    Paste that whole line into google. Mostly you get job listings.

  14. Congratulation Jim, you are the only one that pick that one up. I was waiting to continue with part two of my post but it went right over everybody’s heads. One single site or entry could be repeated thousand of times, those are repetitious numbers. The point I was making is that surfing the web is a time consuming task. The public do not search for news, since news became a business the public got accustomed to have the news delivered to them in any form or shape. They will not go out of their way to go look for news, anyone who has taken even the most basic of advertising and marketing classes would know this. The habit of the entire population will have to change in order for these news sites to succeed, and it will never happen. The newspaper is delivered to your door, the radio will regularly broadcast news breaks, television will turn to news at specific times and gives bulletins throughout the day and of course on my own internet explore I can customize it to give me important news updates throughout the day, I even get news on my smart phone. The public do not have to move a finger to look for news, they have too many more important things to do and very little time to do it, and they will not waste their time looking for news when there are some many sources delivering the news to them. This is basic marketing.

    These needs to revamp the industry are all Michael’s speculations, there have not been any reliable consumer study conducted that will indicate that consumer’s viewing habits need change, he is basing his entire concept on the notion that every television news program is loosing business therefore people must be tired of the methods that news is being delivered, he has a direct financial interest in spreading this notion. The truth is that there are hundreds of more stations delivering the news as well as alternate methods than never existed before, the pie is still the same size but the slices are getting smaller. This is a natural readjustment that happened in the history of every industry.

    It takes a real fool to think and believe that a working couple after finally getting home from work will waste 20 minutes on the web looking for some kid with a consumer camera giving his own interpretation of the news event. This concept is outrageously insane, particularly when you consider what’s already available to that couple. Every television, radio stations and also newspapers around here, and I imagine everywhere, have excellent websites with considerably more news that it was broadcasted on their news hour plus all kind of items of personal interest from health to food and hobbies and they are all locally based activities. On these sites I can find international news as well as what’s happening in my own neighborhood including family, churches, clubs and other activities that will benefit my family personally; without mentioning local sales and offers that can save me money. When my wife and I decide to go out to eat we check one of these sites for discount coupons on local restaurants and we always find one. My kids go to these sites to see the theaters schedule when they go to the movie. Before my wife goes to work in the morning she checks the local traffic and the weather radar. I could go on and on but these sites really help my family’s personal life in many ways. Unless I have a lot of time to waste, why on earth should I go look for these amateur sites particularly when the material shown could be someone fantasy, totally unreliable and without any credibility whatsoever.

    Two major of these sites went under in less than a month and Michaels did not even mention it. This is a serious setback and a clear indication that the public don’t give a damn about these sites, they will not go to it and without the public they will not survive. The AP ASAP site is an excellent one. It has it all, newsprint, audio podcast and a lot of VJ videos not to mention a really big name behind it, and yet it failed.

    Michael claims that he wants to revolutionize the media, but take a real close look at what’s he is doing, is giving it a catching names with lost of adjectives to make it sound important and carbon copying stuff that has been done before, he hasn’t come up with anything new yet.

  15. Dear Nino
    You spend a great deal of time on my site, for example…. although it does not really give you too much information about movies or cheap video cameras.
    You are an active participant in our very small community here…
    You have gone a long way to proving the point that news can be a multilogue.. and that average people will gladly join in.
    Ironically, one of my investors actually pointed to you in particular (as they read the blogs), as an example of exactly what I was talking about. Here you are, devoting time and effort to contribute to the discussion. Agree or disagree with me… you are a participant.
    And if we can do this with ‘the VJ revolution’, (accept it or not), we can do this with health care, Iraq and lots more. This is, indeed, Citizen Journalism. And welcome to it.

  16. Michael you should run for office, you have all the necessary quality, you sound just like Bush.

    “Car bomb kills 50 and wound 100 in Baghdad today, eight Marines killed, but we are making progress and we are on course”

    You know what my motives are, I could care less about your web site or whatever else you do, I’m trying to save these poor idiots from making the mistake in believing in you that they can make a living being a VJ, that’s all I’m doing here, call it a humanitarian mission. You might find it strange but some people really care about people. My web site has been free and completely paid out of my pocket to teach people on how to better their skills so they can stand a chance to make some money. My future seminars might also be free if enough sponsors come aboard. And honestly, VJs will be my main target or at least those who feel that they can actually have a future in this profession by expanding their skills. As I said before, you sold these people an expensive parked car, I will give them the fuel to go places.

    So for the third time, what in it for these VJs? I already told you what to do if you really care about these people but you already discarded the idea because it would not have the potential to make any big money and that’s what investors are looking for, they don’t give a damn about these guys.

    Trust me you are not our only target. Look at B-roll, we are also after Craiglist and every post there that also try to exploit people in my beloved profession, and be sure that we’ll go after everyone else who’s trying to take advantage of us.

  17. Just for fun, I googled Fox News, Michael Rosenblm, and

    Of course, the first few entries were for the Fox News website.

    For Michel Rosenblum, there were about as many, and they were all about our host here.

    For, I was a little surprised to see that the 2nd item down is for uploading user video. I’m sure that it’s supposed to be for professional DP’s, but I about fell out of my chair when I saw that.

    Finally, just for laughs, I did nppa. You do get the normal nppa website, which has, of course, a link under competitions to upload your own video – even for non-members.

    I’d looked at their website before and had considered joining just for fun and to take advantage of the stuff on there. But when I looked at the 2007 clip of the year winners, I decided that it certainly wasn’t worth the money.

    For 2007 best of photojournalism, for editing we have”how to become a game warden in 6 months,” for general news, the winner was about a Mardi Gras party for a nursing home, and for spot news it was a story about a woman with her car stuck in a river (you can see that every week if you live in Phoenix during the rainy season). No Iraq, no hospitals in Bethesda, no Africa, no healthcare, no border fence, no price of gas, not even the long lines at the airport or kids in gangs. We have “Cody’s Rescue,” (I suppose about getting a child or a dog out of a sewer pipe), and “HOV dummy.”

    I’m perfectly okay with these topics for me or for an amateur site, but the National Press Photographers Association?

    Those were the WINNERS. Man, I’d hate to watch the ones that didn’t make honorable mention. How anybody could slam a VJ story about speed dating after watching the super-duper all-time 2007 news item is, well… to be honest, the proper words fail.

    These were all the sort of fluff pieces that VJ’s are supposed to be producing. To be fair, the VJ section didn’t look very appealing either, but at least it has the excuse of only being a few years old.

    Our very own Eric Blumer was in the finals for News Feature Editing. If he didn’t win, then it is probably because his video had some sort of merit.

    I’ve seen on this blog that people who are pro VJ and anti VJ discredit the nppa. My goodness, I can see why.

    My laser company bought a spoof on the TV show “24” that was about not clicking “reply all” when you reply to an email. Blew everything on the nppa site out of the water for editing, sound, whatever.

    Strangely, if you want to watch those videos, the nppa sends you off to Poynter’s CJ page.

    Is nppa a fake organization or something? I think that the *photo* on the top page is very good, but someone please set me straight about their videos.

    As a self-proclaimed amateur whose best work is a tie between cutting open a coconut with a power saw and taking kids to a fountain in Charleston, SC, I don’t claim to judge the work as a jounalist of any kind. As a watcher of TV though, yipe!


  18. Jim let me explain how this industry works, something that I’ve been trying to change.

    I started my career in 1970 as a still photographer doing mainly commercial and advertising work. For still photographers there’s a network of organizations on the regional, state and local levels. All these organizations are affiliated to the PPA, that’s the Professional Photographer Association. This is a national and international group. The main purpose of the associations is to expand the knowledge of the profession with many and many educational activities. The NPPA was the equivalent but for press photographers only. The NPPA added video photographers later but it was still run by still photographers and for some reason still and video never saw eye to eye, for some reason there was always some sort of resentment between the two and still is. There’s no professional video organization in this country and I’ve been working very hard exploring ways to form some sort of umbrella organization or become affiliated to an existing one. The problem is that once one finished the formal education there are no educational opportunities like still photographers have to expand their knowledge. The problem is mentality and before I can succeed I have to overcome that; the really talented guys in this business do not want to be affiliated to anything, they are very protective of what they know and are not willing to share it. You wouldn’t’ believe the nasty e-mails that I got when I started for giving away trade “secrets” and creating competition in the higher level of production. Now go to the PPA web site and see the work there, see what sharing knowledge can do. I know it because I’ve been there. I was a member when I started my career and even thou I have very extensive formal education the association’s educational opportunities showed me how to convert that knowledge into marketable skills.

    A wise instructor once told me that if you and I meet on a street corner and exchange a dollar we both walk away with one dollar, but if we exchange ideas we both walk away with two ideas.

    The people that usually enter their work in these competitions unfortunately are mediocre at best. These are people who need the recognition and something impressive on their resume to get ahead in their career. The really good one will never take their time to enter their work. On the Travel Channel yesterday I saw two amazing shows called Wild Caribbean producer by a British company that I work with occasionally, those had some incredible footage and some fantastic editing; the people who did those would never enter in any competition or share their knowledge, this is the unfortunate reality of this business and this is what I’m trying very hard to change

  19. Hey. Art is science made clear. Help me! Please help find sites for: Wall clock. I found only this – ” last year, but the truth is that of the seo market is made up of snake oil. Seo count is a web based google search engine positioning, ranking reporting, and keyword analyze tool. With respect :cool:, Kekona from India.

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