I’ve read so many articles and blog posts over the last couple of years about how to save the newspaper that it’s hard to take any of them serious anymore because it seems like no one that is running newspapers (and magazines) are listening. Their typical solution is a walled garden or the assumption that people are willing to pay for news that they can’t see or care about. Digital consortiums are being developed in hopes that a new digital device will be the answer. Good luck connecting with poor internet connections, plus once people get their hands on these new devices they’ll want to do things that A. the devices aren’t capable of, B. stuff that companies want to lock out, and C. the same old corporate thinking of not support stuff people want because they never thought of it first.
All of this brings me to an article by Bob Lefsetz about TMZ being the site of the year—a claim that I have a hard time arguing with. I can recall a couple years ago when I would look to Twitter to get news updates though those days now long gone for me as those that wanted to press the button on news are no longer there. Now that there’s new rolls for people using Twitter at news sites the info flow has slowed considerably. I’d hate to admit this but if I do get a whiff of something interesting going in the news, I will check TMZ first. Regular news sites have adjusted their sites with a headline banner that will let viewers know that they know there’s a story, they just have nothing to report. TMZ will already has a post with a grainy photo typically taken from the person breaking the story—not a reporter but an observer that was right there. Ironically these people aren’t going to CNN or Reuters—but calling TMZ. It’s also known that TMZ is one of the only outlets that will pay for such stuff, though I’m sure everyone does it privately.
One of Bob’s more important points is the facts vs. analysis of news. The irony of course is that all news agencies will claim that they’re reporting the facts, but clearly you compare two news sites and the sentiment analysis would show that each site reports in their own language. The short to the point blog posts that a journalist would snide about are what people gravitate towards. It’s not that people don’t care about good writing, they don’t have time to read it. Everyone has an opinion these days, and everyone can publish on any topic. But there needs to be a starting point and TMZ is getting there first. It’s after the fact that news sites start reporting.