I am seeing more and more articles like this one by Chris Cooper of CNET news.com, in fact, a deluge in the last few weeks. First, some interesting facts:
- The latest statistics out of the Audit Bureau of Circulations find that newspaper circulation dropped 2.6 percent in the six months that ended in September.
- A new Pew survey reports that 48 percent of blog creators are under 30 and 39 percent of them have college or graduate degrees.
And then the confession of a journalist hack:
I grew up with newspapers--starting as a 13-year-old delivery boy for the Long Island Press in Queens, New York, and then in my first professional gigs. What’s more, I’ve been reading the print edition of The New York Times all my adult life and can’t imagine ever straying from that daily routine. But I’m a dinosaur, part of a shrinking generation of daily print newspaper readers who likely will disappear in a few decades. And we’re being replaced by folks who “consume media” through the use of RSS feeders, Web portals and blogs.
He spells out the frustrations that those of us who have been blogging about this for the last 2-3 years (eons in blogosphere time).
By now, I thought this old media-new media debate was history. Wishful thinking. Some of the most respected print journalists around still treat blogs as if they were lab specimens--at best interesting oddities but clearly not something to cuddle up to for very long.
In the midst of much talk and analysing of this new trend or other, in this industry or maket, there is only one trends as far as I am concerned. The individual (user, customers, readers, anything BUT consumers) is able to do things that used to be possible only for large organisations - ability to create, acquire and distribute information, knowledge and content and potentially command a large albeit distributed audience. An emergent effect of that is the ability to build experise, thought leadership, a brand even, without the backing of instituations. And although this empowerment is centered on the individual, it is very much embedded in a network and its social dimension.
But there’s a shift under way in which authority is being transferred to authors with no accountability other than to themselves and their readership. Does it matter? Should it matter? The mainstream media can look down its nose at the blogosphere, but the numbers tell a different story. More people than ever are reading blogs because of shared affinities and it’s coming at the expense of print newspapers.
There is a still a huge gap between those of us who have been saying this for years and the MSM that think they just discovered a new trend and at the current rate, they are going to be last to understand the profound changes in its own backyard.