In some ways, we can see the future of news delivery, and it’s all around us.
If you want a second opinion, consider the remarks attributed to Richard Gingras, head of News Products at Google, in Matt Stempeck’s blog for the MIT Center for Civic Media.
Gingras, among several interesting points, suggests that social media is getting a lot more attention from Google these days. And why not?
Facebook and Twitter are familiar to more than 90% of Americans, according to the “The Social Habit 2011” by Edison Research. More people are getting their news from these sites, as aggregated and recommended by their ‘Friends.’
Among his other key points [and my observations]:
– The pace of technical change won’t abate; we’re not simply in a transition between two eras.
– Journalism is in a renaissance: Everyone now has a printing press. [And they’ve all got a distribution system and they’re all potential competitors and contributors.]
– Newspapers have been slow to change their outdated processes [We see this every day; it’s difficult to get people to rethink decades-long practices.]
– Better understand the underlying content economy. People used to get newspapers because of geography. Now they’re finding what they want anywhere online. [We sold news because we owned the geography and distribution; now geography matters little and anyone can distribute.]
– Consider ‘Living’ story pages. [Wikipedia ranks high in search engines because it capitalizes on its trusted URL. Newspapers, stuck in old production cycles, produce a URL one day and throw it out the next. Imagine if they built upon/improved the same story each time it updates. Right now, most content management systems don’t really allow it.]
– Learn from the data, but don’t let it dictate. [Translated: I know Jobbie Nooner photo galleries will do well, but that doesn’t mean we stop producing important news.]
– Because reporters are the most important part of the enterprise, invest in technology to help them and maximize their time. [Here, here!]
– Constantly innovate – from where folks sit to what they do. [Don’t stand still.]
A friend pointed out on Facebook that Gingras, who hails from Salon, didn’t have a stellar balance sheet there. But as you see news evolving these days, it’s pretty hard to argue against any of these points or suggestions.