...if you care about where the future of news is going. It's written by a New York University new media guru named Clay Shirky, and it basically says that journalism is in the midst of a revolution, that the early truth-tellers were marginalized and that anyone who tells you he knows where this thing is going is lying in. (There's even a riff on the invention of the printing press in the 1500s.)
There's too many good parts to except but here's one snippet:
For a long time, longer than anyone in the newspaper business has been alive in fact, print journalism has been intertwined with these economics. The expense of printing created an environment where Wal-Mart was willing to subsidize the Baghdad bureau. This wasn’t because of any deep link between advertising and reporting, nor was it about any real desire on the part of Wal-Mart to have their marketing budget go to international correspondents. It was just an accident. Advertisers had little choice other than to have their money used that way, since they didn’t really have any other vehicle for display ads.
The old difficulties and costs of printing forced everyone doing it into a similar set of organizational models; it was this similarity that made us regard Daily Racing Form and L’Osservatore Romano as being in the same business. That the relationship between advertisers, publishers, and journalists has been ratified by a century of cultural practice doesn’t make it any less accidental.
The competition-deflecting effects of printing cost got destroyed by the internet, where everyone pays for the infrastructure, and then everyone gets to use it. And when Wal-Mart, and the local Maytag dealer, and the law firm hiring a secretary, and that kid down the block selling his bike, were all able to use that infrastructure to get out of their old relationship with the publisher, they did. They’d never really signed up to fund the Baghdad bureau anyway.
Talk of journalism reform is on the wind -- a lot of people are also gabbing about this speech. But the bottom line is what Shirky said, that no one knows where the wind is blowing: