Regardless of your vision for the future of blogging, the future of journalism might be tied to online publications more than we all think. In this post in the New York Times Bits section (business, innovation, technology, society), the discussion between Michael Arrington of TechCrunch and Rafat Ali of PaidContent highlights a few pieces of information.
Before I get into that I must say something that has been in the back of my mind for quite a while about the commenting I see at sites like the ones cited here - and in many cases at the sites of what used to be respected print publications like USAToday. Dudes, discourse is a worthwhile goal to aspire to. Personal attacks lopped at each other do not seem to add much to the conversation.
In terms of preference, it is much simpler than we might think - people gravitate towards what they know, and like. Then we go ahead and rationalize why we're making that choice. Things like: it provides more analysis, it's more genuine, there is good content, and so on. There is one interesting undercurrent in the comments to the Times blog - people are still voting for unbiased reporting. We can have that conversation on objectivity one day.
The Times describes Mr. Arrington as right brained, while Mr. Ali is decidedly left-brained. I see those as two approaches to publishing. Nathan Richardson, PaidContent CEO who worked at Yahoo! Finance through its growth, sees the difference not shockingly to favor PaidContent. “Journalistic integrity transcends just being a blog,” he said.
And here's the payoff - the need for better writers (and researchers) is going to skyrocket as these online properties grow (VC financing or not). Where are they going to find all those qualified writers? “We can hire two good journalists, pay them well, and build a vertical,” said Mr. Ali. That could be good news for some journalists. Are current Schools of Journalism keeping up with the changing career landscape?
As we're now talking about tridigital (traditional + digital), the next generation of writers may already be there. Yes, I'm aware than many journalists are already pulling double duty - as are many marketers like this one. If the boundaries are blurred now, will they get even more fuzzy (as my friend Armano says) or will brand new careers emerge?
[image from Citizen Kane]