Ryan Sholin knocks one out of the park: “10 obvious things about the future of newspapers you need to get through your head“. Pretty much mirrors a lot of lunchtime conversation at the J-School over the past few years, with the discussion seeming somewhat more urgent lately (because the writing is on the wall for dead-tree distribution). I liked #7 especially:
Bloggers aren’t an uneducated lynch mob unconcerned by facts. They’re your readers and your neighbors and if you play your cards right, your sources and your community moderators. If you really play it right, bloggers are the leaders of your networked reporting projects. Get over the whole bloggers vs. journalists thing, which has been pretty much settled since long before you stopped calling it a “Web blog” in your stories.
… though all of his points are spot-on. John Battelle has some interesting commentary in a similar vein. On where newspapers are falling down (this was directed at the SF Chronicle, but could be applied to many/most municipal papers):
400 reporters and what is the paper DOING with them? Not much, I’m afraid. The paper should OWN the Valley Tech story. Does it? No. It should OWN the biotech story. Does it? No. It should OWN the real estate/development story. Does it? No. It should OWN the California political story. Does it? No! … I agree that Google and others should be more engaged in helping shore up and – GASP – evolve the fourth estate. But assuming the way to do it is to support more of the same – the approach that gave us a bloated newsroom that puts out a product fewer and fewer people want to read each year – is to ask for tenure over evolution.