News as we knew it is in the crapper, we get it. Why people keep writing entire articles about that now obvious fact is unclear. Less common are new suggestions for fixing the problem. Walter Isaacson revived the micropayments concept in TIME and anyone and everyone who wants to sound like they know what they’re saying is still latching on. Nothing new there.
Mark Josephson’s suggestions weren’t particularly shocking, either. But they are fairly astute and all in one place, so let’s give it a look. Josephson puts all his hope in three pillars: aggregation (duh), curation (well, yes) and networking (shocker!). I’ll reserve my bitchiness for a moment though for an analysis of what Josephson means by each pillar. His explanations are less trite than his single word pillars would imply.
Aggregation– not just linking, copying, all that crap. It’s all about “dynamically sourcing every single local piece of content and organizing by discrete neighborhoods — or even specific addresses — gives the kind of targeted and timely local coverage that print newspapers never dreamed of attempting,” says Josephson. This should be obvious, but clearly isn’t when you look at the often random junk that so many blogs link to.
Curation– Kind of like aggregation, but classier. Don’t just link to any related post, make every link count. The Times has been practicing this linking method for a while, at first far too stringently, linking only within The Times site to maintain their editorial voice. Everyone on the web knows that you need to be less stingy with your links, but you don’t need to go giving them away for free to every fast and loose blog that occasionally agrees with you.
Network– I almost don’t even want to talk about this one, because the thought of touting the importance of social networking feels passe to the point of death by boredom. I will say only this: new media is about individuals developing ridiculously specific networks like never before. Without the contacts that these groups bring, things will fall apart.