PAU PGD 2011

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The future of news and why “digital first” matters

Covering the news used to be fairly simple. Reporters wrote things down and then sent them to editors, who then sent them to the printer to be published in the newspaper. But things are a lot more complicated now: News has become an ongoing process rather than a finished product, and it’s composed of many different pieces, including blogs and video and Twitter and so on. In a recent post at the 10,000 Words blog, Lauren Rabaino of the Seattle Times does a good job of looking at how confusing this can be for newspapers and other media entities. More than anything else, it reinforces the need to rethink how the news gets written and distributed.

As Rabaino notes in her post, the way that news stories emerge now — whether it’s a story about the Occupy Wall Street protests or an earthquake in Japan, or even a more local news piece — is different now because the germ of a story can come from anywhere: from Twitter, from a photo or a video posted to YouTube, or from a blog. As blogging pioneer Dave Winer has pointed out, the “sources can now go direct,” in the sense that anyone who is at the center of a news event has publishing tools available to them to get their own story out. This “democracy of distribution” (as Om has called it) created by Twitter and other tools changes the dynamic dramatically.

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