Comment 37166

By Lurkalicious (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2010 at 11:15:25

I was there last night too. Great event - local media talks always draw out passionate people!

I know it's become a cliche but when Bill Kelly was doing his bravado thing about how all this change has been going on since Gutenberg, all I could think was that he and the other old media professionals are like the scribes who were put out of a job after Gutenberg invented the printing press.

Look at the parallels. David Estok said last night more people read the Spec than ever, but they can't figure out how to make money from them. After the printing press, more people were *reading* than ever but suddenly the guys who get paid to write out books can't get paid for what they do.

Ryan sort of gets at this in his essay above but what's really happening is that journalism - publishing - is being amateurized by the web. You needed professionals when there was one or two printing presses per city (or one or two TV stations), because the bandwidth was so narrow you needed people to do QA before publication.

Now that anyone can publish anything and everyone can see it, we don't need professional gatekeepers of quality any more.

Here's the crucial bit: The gatekeepers weren't there to ensure that readers only saw good stuff, they were there to ensure money wasn't wasted publishing crap no one would want to read. Mistakes were too expensive! That's why the professionals earned the big bucks.

Nowadays, if someone publishes crap no one wants to read, it doesn't matter because it didn't cost anything to publish it.

See, readers aren't stupid. We know quality when we see it. Sorry Bill, but we don't need gatekeepers like you to protect us from lousy journalism. We can figure that out for ourselves very quickly.

The good stuff will rise to the top and the bad stuff will drop to the bottom.

Now are you starting to understand why the MSM are worried? Their professional skills are about as useful to the internet generation as the professional skills of scribes were to the printing press generation.

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