Chris spoke about the well-known challenges facing established news organisations and his belief that market forces would shake-out the chaos leaving the nimble survivors to reap the rewards which are no longer the right of the big players.
The thrust of his argument (which you can see on video here) was that bloggers and other content creators who don’t have the overheads of print and broadcast companies, are providing a vibrant competitive market.
It’s a strong argument. And it’s the argument which the news industry needs to face up to. Three words from Chris which summed this up for me were “attention, time and reputation”. Those are the battlegrounds – grabbing attention, getting the users’ time and establishing a reputation”.
Being experienced professionals we should be good at grabbing attention and keeping people engaged so is it reputation where news organisations get unstuck? Having a good offline reputation doesn’t necessarily give us a good online reputation whereas the blogger or VJ just starting out can create their reputation purely online with no baggage. It’s going back to that being part of the web, not merely on the web, argument.
So what’s the best strategy to get “attention, time and reputation”?
Sadly the debate last night didn’t address this. Instead the panel returned to the well-trodden paths of the need to “control”, there was talk of “access” and “gatekeepers”.
Er, sorry to be the one to break it to you guys (and it was all male), the horse hasn’t just bolted, he’s built his own nice new stable in your garden.
While Chris’ free market model may be a step too far for those who believe the media (particularly local media) fulfills a wider community function than money-making, unless news organisations accurately identify and address the challenge, the war might just be over before a battle has been conducted.
Some comments from the debate can be found on Twitter using the tag #chrisanderson