Hitwise have posted on the increase in visits to the top news aggregators, just days after the revamp of Microsoft’s Live Search News. Whilst I don’t agree with the article’s description of web 3.0 (or any other web 3.0, web 4.0 or web 5.0 bandwagon), there seems little doubt news aggregators are changing the way we access the news. If anything I am surprised that there were only 8 news aggregators amongst the top 100 news and media sites.
My immediate reaction to Microsoft’s entrance was one of joy, pleased with any service that nibbles away at Google’s online dominance, but when seen as part of the increase in news aggregation, you have to worry about effect it will have on the news creators who are already trying to cut corners. The question is whether new news models can emerge before the old one stops working.
One of the many web topics that is of interest to me is the delivery and sharing of news on the web. Despite the rhetoric of the blogosphere I have never been persuaded that traditional journalism can be successfully replaced by so-called citizen journalism, for the most part the blogosphere highlights, and puts their own opinions on, news stories coming from traditional sources. Whilst I have always cast a cynical eye on the traditional media, I must admit that I didn’t quite realise how far journalism had gone in the cutting of corners and trimming of budgets. After finishing Nick Davies’ “Flat Earth News“, you can only conclude that news is up the proverbial creek.
Even the great BBC, which brought my attention to the book in the first place, is not immune to criticism. Can correspondents really do their job properly as they constantly jump between tv stations, radio, and the web?
At a time when the market is clearly not up to the job, surely it is time we should be emphasising the Beeb’s public service credentials rather than trying to force it into playing by the market rules. Surely there should be a campaign out there to increase the licence fee.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that I last questioned the slipping standards of Mashable, and I find I am doing it once again. Ironically regarding an article defending the so-called citizen journalists. Professional journalists have been calling into question the quality of so-called citizen journalism, the article responds by insulting the traditionalist’s looks and stating she has ‘senile dementia’.
I am constantly amazed by the arrogance of the blogosphere, willing to point out the speck in their enemy’s eye whilst ignoring the plank in their own. Little of what appears in the blogosphere equates to our traditional idea of what journalists do, instead most stories rely on information collected by the mainstream media (Tech sites are often a notable exception). Also editorial standards are extremely low, as exhibited in posts that merely insult individuals on unrelated factors such as looks. Rather than bitching the bloggers should take some of the criticism on board and work out how they can improve.
There are advantages of mainstream media, and advantages of the blogosphere, but we are mistaken if we believe they are in the same game.