“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

MSM news sites and blog coverage, the new generation

Posted by direwolff on November 9, 2006

Today’s announcement that Marketwatch had hooked up with Sphere was no surprise. I was positing this exactly a week ago with a friend in the blog aggregation business. Mainstream media (MSM) news sites have to acknowledge that they’re no longer the sole source of news. They have to also acknowledge that the blogosphere, at times made up of the very reporters who were once employed by MSM organizations, are frequently scooping stories, (call it the advantage of a distributed model for news coverage versus a centralized model under one organization). However, given the nature of the Web, it no longer really matters where the news comes from just so long as the publisher’s site can be counted on to report it or show the story. Adding value to it in other ways of course never hurts. What this means is that while I wouldn’t necessarily go to Joshua Micah’s Talking Points Memo site daily, I do want to be directed there when he posts important or noteworthy news. There’s still a place needed for filtering the overwhelming amount of news out there for the mainstream.

I still believe that people in general are lazy, and in their laziness they may not want to spend the time to learn about RSS or about how to set-up something as relatively simple as a newsreader (aka. blog reader). Hence, the MSM news organizations will continue to play the role of trusted source. Sites like CNN, FOX, MSNBC, Marketwatch, CBS, many of the newspaper sites, and others will continue to gather people showing up there based on their cross-media polinization (driving traffic from TV or physical newspapers) and their brands, but people will also need to feel a sense of trust that they’re getting the latest news. If people feel like they’re missing the news too often, they’ll slowly wean themselves to other sources, so it’s critical for the MSM news organizations to provide this coverage. It’s not so important that they originate it, but just that they have it, and with RSS that can happen nearly instantaneously these days. Don’t forget that for most of the uninitiated, seeing a story on CNN whether it’s a link or otherwise is generally interpreted as being a CNN story even if you’re transported to a blogger’s site with the full story. The subltleties of linking are frequently lost of those less familiar with the inner workings of the Web.

Gone are the days where Reuters and AP competed for who could release a news story 15 seconds before the other. Now any blogger can do so, and the more credibility they have, the faster that story’s meme will circulate from their initial post. I’d argue that services like Tailrank‘s and Memeorandum‘s are even more critical than Technorati and Sphere, where the former really get to the memes which is what everyone seems to care about anyway. Otherwise put, memes are such because they’re what people tend to care and talk about. Look for more MSM news organizations doing deals like Marketwatch. Technorati for example has a number of relationships with newspaper sites, Wired recently acquired Reddit, but I’d expect a frenzy of deals in this space given how much all of these MSM sites need to keep their constituents happy and fed with the latest news.

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