(Provocative) Quote of the Day

“…the hopes that Dan Gillmor raised for the media industry in his book — which kicked off this whole business — have largely failed.”
–Rich Skrenta, Topix CEO, writing in his blog about what he describes as the * failure* of the We Media conference in Miami this past week on the basis that the *new* online news paradigms have not succeeded in the business world–and that, in fact, participatory media is, by very definition, uncommercial.
Rich also says (in that admirably blunt, Skrenta way): “The dog’s breakfast of new media startups includes Gather, Backfence, Newstrust, Daylife, TailRank, Associated Content, Pegasus News, Tinfinger, Findory, Inform, Newsvine, Memeorandum, NowPublic. ….And yes, I would include Topix here as well. ….But, we can face it, even we haven’t yet burned down the world, or upended the news industry.”
Susan says: I don’t personally believe that participatory journalism is, by definition, non-commercial–I just think the business rules will continue to shift, in ways we can’t yet see (where are those great micropayments systems everyone wanted for bloggers a few years ago–are publishing networks the 2007 equivalent?)
But Rich’s comments always capture my attention–as does this bonus quote from Mark Glaser:
“Thanks to the audience taking control of their media experience and creating their own media in blogs, podcasts, video and social networks, the people who are losing control have decided to meet — and meet, and meet again — until they figure out how they can take back some control of this uncontrollable situation. ”
If I could have taken the time off from work, I would have gone to this conference–and formed my own opinion–but meanwhile, am still digesting what looks like a lot of blogosphere negative comments–and wondering how many layers and levels of Old Guard/New Guard came into play at this event.
Polite disclosure: I was a fellow of an earlier version of ifocus, and know lots of the people in this discussion…and am fascinated both by the criticisms of the conference and Rich’s higher-order observations (and wondering how they fit together.)

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  1. jake says:

    here’s a little secret to the citizen’s journalism biz– any startup that expects the public to do all the work is going to fail.
    that’s why backfence did so poorly– that’s why daylife feels so dead. you need at least a few human editors and writers to produce great content– you can’t get it from a largely apathetic public, or from a machine algorithm, or by aggregating other sites.
    expecting the public to do all the work is like inviting friends to a party at your house– and telling them to bring the food, the chips, the drinks, and oh, by the way– can you also bring some chairs to sit on?
    frankly, i’m surprised that many of these sites have lasted as long as they have.

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