A Depressing Combination

Back in New York after three days of Miami sun and media talk. Didn’t bring home a check but did come away with a depressing picture of the current media business landscape. Peopled by a combination of old media folk quietly aware of the fact that their publications are fading fast and new media youngins making even less money than their elderly counterparts, WeMedia ’09 was a disconcerting look at the fact that I probably won’t have a job when I graduate in two years.

Jim Kennedy, director of strategy for the AP, seemed on the verge of tears as he talked about the failings of their current model on Wednesday. A Missouri J School teacher whose name  I can’t remember was completely unwilling to acknowledge that newspapers could possibly be on their way out. I spent twenty minutes talking with him– if you can call being shouted at “talking with”– and it became increasingly clear that, if I disagree, I’m wrong because he is infallible.

And then there was Amra Tareen of All Voices, a relatively new site built with about $6million of venture capital. The concept– citizen reporting with a mixed media matching engine for collaborative posting– is cool. But there’s no money. Amra said they weren’t planning on being profitable until at least next year, but they’re aiming to pay contributors based on popularity and I just can’t see them making enough money to do that from ad revenue. On the bright side, she did mention their pay structure and Locccal is going to steal the shit out of it. We were never planning on salaried pay, but the All Voices model of paying in six month chunks is much better than paying by popularity of single posts.

When it came down to it though, the conference was about “game changing,” and there was very little legit game to be found.

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