Does News Still Have Value?

Apr 25th, 2009 | By | Category: Commentary

BuzzMachine’s Jeff Jarvis has posted an interesting look at the future of news, Journalists: Where do you add value?:

Journalism can’t afford repetition and production anymore.

Every minute of a journalist’s time will need to go to adding unique value to the news ecosystem: reporting, curating, organizing. This efficiency is necessitated by the reduction of resources. But it is also a product of the link and search economy: The only way to stand out is to add unique value and quality.

My advice in the past has been: If you can’t imagine why someone would link to what you’re doing, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. And: Do what you do best and link to the rest. The link economy is ruthless in judging value.

The question every journalist must ask is: Am I adding value?

Jarvis raises an issue that’s very important, not just to journalists, but to anyone involved in media.

When blogging, podcasting and video podcasting emerged, there were a lot of people who saw them as get rich quick opportunities. The idea was that, since blogging/podcasting/video podcasting made it easy to publish and share media with the world, they would open up a world of opportunity.

These people only saw half the picture, though.

New media does open up a world of opportunity – but it also opens up a world of competition.

Suddenly, everyone is blogging, podcasting, video podcasting, sharing photos and microblogging.

Every local paper in the US is now competing with every other paper in the US, every other paper in the world, every blogger, every podcaster, vlogger and even Twitter for attention. This competition has resulted in papers around the US shutting their doors.

Whether you’re creating old media or new media, you can look forward to your work becoming less and less valuable, as more and more content gets shoveled onto the Net. The only way to fight this trend, as Jarvis suggests, is to create something that’s really unique.

For some, this may mean original reporting and interviews. For others, it may be filtering information to create a “curated” information portal. For others, it may be offering a unique perspective on the news.

Jarvis sums up his thoughts like this: “Do what you do best and link to the rest. The link economy is ruthless in judging value.”

What do you think? In this day and age, what makes news have value?

Image: Zarko Drincic

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