Newspapers in 2020: An update
The Southern California publication serves as the model for MinnPost. It's called Voice of San Diego and, like MinnPost, it's structured as a membership-based nonprofit, similar to what you find at PBS and NPR.
What I like about these ventures is that they encourage the contributions of readers -- commentary, pictures, news bits and other kinds of information -- but don't rely on them.
These are not citizen journalism sites. These are pro organizations operated by trained reporters and editors who believe in a similar systems of ethics, practice and philosophy.
I agree with Dave Morgan in his prediction of newspapers in 2020 that newspapers in future will see an audience of active participants, not the passive consumers of the 20th century.
That seems only logical given how media technology is changing our national consciousness in ways similar, as I note in this post,to those of the phonograph in the last 19th century. It changed how we hear music.
However, I don't believe future newsrooms will be as collaborative as Mark Glaser describes. In his PBS blog, MediaShift, he predicts that news stories will take the shape of "a tighly controlled wiki," like entries in Wikipedia, in which anyone can offer additions, subtractions or -- inevitably -- slander, lies or worse.
Glaser's thinking is that using wikis takes full advantage of the collective knowledge of the community. It's the same thinking as that kind found in James Surowiecki's "The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations."
Which is to say, it's ideal, but not realistic. While this may be sound philosophy for business, marketing and advertising, I'm agnostic about its being applied to journalism.
A middle way would be more pragmatic: harnessing the power of the community while providing the quality, professionalism and integrity that the community deserves and expects from its media. Newspapers have historically led the way, shaping and influencing local conversation. I don't see any reason for that to stop, even as technology changes how newspapers do it.
As William Powers notes in this piece for the Washington Post, quality still sells. Voice of San Diego and MinnPost seem to affirm that old-time attitude in a new age of media.
There has always been a market for thoughtful reporting and writing, and there always will be. Remember, the great newspapers of today became great during a period when they were competing with tabloids, television, and other relatively cheesey fare. There were no page views then, but quality broadsheets had quarterly income statements -- and a breathtaking profit stream -- testifying to the fact that the public craved what they were selling. Why did so many people choose to read The Washington Post and The New York Times all those years when they could have exclusively patronized the downmarket alternatives? Because they liked and believed in the work. The Web hasn't suddenly turned all of us into Britney-obsessed boobs. Yes, TMZ.com and its spawn draw a huge crowd, but the high-end newspaper websites still pull in impressive numbers. If you really want to see quality thriving, check out the BBC's traffic some time. In a way, the Web is transforming the BBC from a tv/radio operation -- what Marshall McLuhan would have called a relatively "hot" medium -- to a relatively "cool," text-driven one. It's not a private business, but it sure could be a model for one.
Bloggers We Love
Bridgette Redman and Lansing Theater
Drew McManus' "Neo Classical" at the Partial Observer
Marc Moss (Missoula, MT artist)
Mary Louise Schumacher's "Art City"
Other Great Sites
American Composers Orchestra
Arts & Letters Daily
Center for Arts and Culture
Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive
National Arts Journalism Program
NEA Arts Journalism Institute for Dance Criticism
NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Classical Music and Opera
NEA Arts Journalism Institute in Theater & Musical Theater
New Music Box: American Music Center
USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program
AJ BlogsAJBlogCentral | rss
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog