FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, February 04, 2005

News: From Consuming to Inhabiting

Michael Malone of ABC News has written a fascinating commentary on how technology has changed the nature of news gathering and reporting over the past few decades. Yes, we've been down this road before, but his take is different. He focuses on the recent Iraqi elections, and remarks how the story was reported in virtually real time. He also contrasts this against the news reporting of a generation ago, noting that back then, such as story would have taken days if not week to unfold.

Malone notes that every major news event, from the Kennedy assassination to 9/11, has become ever more immediate. Now, with blogs, people around the world could follow the Iraqi elections literally as they took place, and be part of the story themselves:

In just 3 ½ years since 9/11 another media revolution had occurred. With the rise of the blogosphere, I suddenly found myself not only watching the news from Iraq as it occurred, but also reading an analysis of that news (and of the coverage itself) at the same time. I could now actually learn the thoughts of the participants in the event, read their raw notes, look at the snapshots they'd taken just minutes before -- words and images unmediated by a copy or photo editor. And there were hundreds of these sources. For the first time in my life, I couldn't keep up with the sheer weight of news coverage. I suspect that was true for everybody -- suggesting that we have just experienced another technological revolution; and we won't even fully identify or understand its implications for years to come. By then, we will be awash in live video blogs; yet another revolution. [Emphasis added]

Malone raises a critical point when he suggests that the volume of news coverage is becoming too much for any one person to absorb. There aren't enough hours in a day to read all the blogs out there, let alone stay glued to cable TV. Clearly, some kind of intermediation will emerge to help people manage all this content. Will it be in the form of personalized portals, providing a filter and showing us only what we want to see (thus leading to a mypoia of ideas)? Or will we come full circle, turning once again to a mainstream media source that edits and presents the news to us?

Source: unmediated