it found me

Usual story. Focus group, college kid asked how he consumes news and all the rest. Then he says: If the news is that important, it will find me.

It’s a phrase that’s used again and again to frighten some people and inspire others. It’s used in every JESUSCHRISTDOSOMETHING style presentation on new media. Still, there’s a growing number of people (young and old) that don’t buy papers, don’t watch the Angelus and the news after it. They find out through other sources about news, entertainment, content, recommendations, truth, lies etc. News before came from news filters like the Irish Times and Radio 1, now they come from text messages (remember Roy Keane and Saipan?), Facebook, Twitter (Michael Jackson dies, the Luas crash), Boards.ie (Leaving Cert English Paper 2) and the list goes on.

On Saturday morning I found out the Lisbon result through Echofon which is a Twitter client on my iPhone. As results came in from different count centres, the news came via people I’m subscribed to on Twitter. I don’t subscribe to news outlets on Twitter. People at count centres. People connected to people at count centres. I then watched Enda Kenny, Gerry Adams and all the rest give speeches at the gates of Dublin Castle not via TV or Radio but via the iPhone of Alexia Golez who used the QIK video recording and streaming application to broadcast out to the world.

This is not the future of news but it is a future. Alexia was also there when Seán Haughey experienced that silent protest. With newspapers and radio stations (bye bye INN) slashing costs and staff, then the general people on the street can be there when news happens and deliver it to their network without a news infrastructure. Unwashed ruffians that they are. If your network is relied on for even more news and trusted recommendations, what happens to PR, to broadcast news, to advertising and marketing?

This was definitely my first news event without ever going to a radio or reading a news website. Very much not the last.

2500 people have subscribed to my website instead of coming back each day. You can subscribe to the site using a feedreader or email. I'm also on Twitter. My online marketing blog might also be worth a visit. Thanks for visiting - Damien.

19 Responses to “it found me”

  1. Ian Healy says:

    Truer words were never spoken

  2. Rob Cumiskey says:

    All very true indeed. Found out about the Luas crash and Lisbon result through Twitter myself. I wonder will newspapers become completely unnecessary any time in the near future?

  3. Brendan says:

    “This is not the future of news but it is a future.”

    Love that.

  4. TUG says:

    Yesterday’s news will find you.

  5. So I’m probably going to trample over terminology and what-not with this comment, so apologies folks. Clearly the referendum coverage this way was far closer to what many of us want from news coverage. However, it was very much big-event (the referendum) driven as opposed to run of the mill daily reporting like domestic news, tech news, etc. So I’m wondering how this will trickle down? I can’t wait because I’m pretty fed-up with the way news, reviews and recommendations come to me right now and I’m happy to dip into my pocket for it.

  6. James: Thus far, experience would suggest that while Twitter et al can be somewhat useful (if often misleading; see some of the rubbish spouted about Lisbon on Twitter) for really huge events, yep, they’re next to useless for boring old normal news. It’s not clear how this could be changed; so few people are going to want to report on (say) the biannual meeting of a fisheries board or something.

    I wonder is there a similar problem to open-source software? Lots of work on big interesting problems, very little on, say, productivity software…

  7. Ger Hartnett says:

    Clay Shirky wrote a recent post on the future of reporting.
    http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/10/rescuing-the-reporters/

    The Money Quote: “There are dozen or so reporters and editors in Columbia, Missouri, whose daily and public work is critical to the orderly functioning of that town, and those people are trapped inside a burning business model.”

  8. The trick is finding trust agents who will deliver information that’s grounded and well-researched. Pocket media channels can be valuable but how many of them come with background research or the funding and analytical skills to unpack FOI datasets? There are big shoes to fill in this new media space: doing the research, writing the compelling copy, recording on your pocket technology with decent production values. It’s difficult finding 10 people in Ireland who can do all those tasks well.

  9. Alexia says:

    ‘trust agents’, Bernie? Sounds almost like The Matrix..

  10. TUG says:

    Ah Bernie, would ye ever…

  11. Pat says:

    I think that social media gives the general public access to two things that the news media have controlled for a while (for better or worse).

    1) Primary source (e.g. Alexia’s qiks, I have access to original don’t need to trust the news version.)

    2) Rumour mill (e.g. “My 1st box is from Stoneybatter in Dublin Central. 2:1 in favour of yes #lisbon”, Twitter gives “facts” which come from varying quality of sources and are often yet to be confirmed)

    No its not honed news as such, but a live wiki of news as it develops. Entertaining to some and perhaps offering a solution to the fading critical analysis currently brought to our news. Hopefully the lose of control of these elements will mean that the news media will need to rely on creating value through good analysis not just control of the flow of news.

    So it is what is… Truth, lies, and qiks

  12. Padraig McKeon says:

    Damian, Had precisely the same experience with the local elections back in June. That said that online, and real time, content was ‘raw data’ and I found it a requirement to absorb a range of media, traditional and new to join the dots and colour between the lines. No doubt though that the mix, and the context is changing. Padraig

  13. I have a headache from all that buzzword bingo.

  14. Roy says:

    That’s all very well if you have a good knowledge of the topic being reported and want your news unfiltered and direct. Most of us want (or need) a journalist to interpret the data and turn it into information we can digest.

  15. Neil says:

    real-time news will create a society where we have an omnipresent sense of the moment…

    http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/17-10/st_thompson

  16. Alexia says:

    Roy et al, I don’t think there’s any question of man-on-the-street reportage replacing the traditional journalist on the beat. However, in terms of immediacy, there are things that traditional media can’t do. Live reporting requires a certain level of overhead for traditional media. There’s a camera needed, perhaps sound etc etc.

    I’d love to see television reporters having a video streaming-capable phone and using it opportune moments. I don’t think we’re that far away from it either. However, almost everyone has the power to record video in their pocket. I may not be a journalist, but the story that my video tells can be just as compelling. And so can yours.

  17. Padraig McKeon says:

    Lexia, agree with you’re point. I’ve been quoted some time ago on this topic as saying

    “The Internet will be the medium people turn to for breaking news.
    People will tune into broadcast media because it captures the emotion or colour of a story.
    Newspapers will continue to be read because they will provide analysis of the event”

    I still subscribe to that view – it’s a new paradigm from which one can choose as one wishes.

    Padraig

  18. Padraig McKeon says:

    Sorry – ‘your’ point, not ‘you’re’ – Doh!

  19. Niall Larkin says:

    People filter news and media by using a ‘rule of thumb.’
    The ‘rule of thumb’ that dominates changes over time.

    In our time, I think we increasinlgy apply a ‘rule of thumb’ that says

    “If it doesn’t make* a personal connection.
    Or come through* a personal connection.
    Its probably not relevant.”

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