what the future of news looks like to me (summary of my #TOC panel comments)

We had a good panel at TOC (Jeff Jarvis, Nick Bilton, Matt Thompson, Andrew Nachison, moderator and me).  Much discussion of what news will look like in the foreseeable future, both on the revenue and the content/user experience sides. 

Wanted to share some of my points here(and this is strictly my own view, obviously):
In the future:

  • News will be based on a foundation of community engagement (note Wikipedia, the communities of participation on many blogs, Matt Thompson’s project doing a local new wiki)
  • Both citizen journalists and investigative reporters will participate as storytellers/responders
  • We will see more marketplaces for investigative reporting, like David Cohn’s Spot.us
  • As Solana Larsen of Global Voices has pointed out, we will no longer have foreign correspondents, instead we will have local reporters and people on the scene.
  • Technology will continue to filter what is linked to, noticed, and popular, but whuffie and reputation will also be critical filters (ie you will need a good reputation to have your “news” be taken seriously
  • Aggregators and human relationship networks will filter and sort news for you as editors once did.
  • There are no media entities–we’re all part of the community and connected, no one is top down to anyone else. (Big change)

On the revenue model side:

  • Local advertising can work, but it may not be about huge conglomerates as much as smaller, solid businesses–Deb Galant’s Barista.net is a sustainable model for local advertising.
  • Sponsorship is another model, but a third is the “tip jar”, the NPR-like subscription model.  Will people pay small amounts to support things of value to them and/or they believe in? Yes.
  • What can premium services look like? Is the data we generate worth something? (This was really Jarvis’ point, but I want to share it here).
  • What are the differences between tip jar and membership models, subscription models? How far is the stretch from community to membership and how does financial support come to be a part of it?

I found it hard to get where the audience was in this discussion; Cory Doctorow was in the audience and made some good points, and one person had very pertinent comments about local advertising.

Side note: It would be great to be a part of the conversation about future revenue models for news that Jeff Jarvis says he is organizing again ( earlier preso here).