Tag Archives: clay shirky

PIPA/SOPA Explained

As you might have guessed I love staying on top of current events, especially as it relates to politics, the economy and just about anything not related to Justin Bieber or Dancing with the Stars. So you can imagine my frustration when I just don't have the time to get up to speed on an issue that I'm pretty sure is important.  That's what has happened with the current PIPA/SOPA issue in Congress which is why I was so pleased to come across this explanation of the issue by Clay Shirky:

Shirky’s News Machine

Clay Shirky has a very interesting post on the news/newspaper business.  An excerpt:

None of the models being tried today are universally adoptable; the most we can say is that each of them happens to work somewhere, at least for the moment. This may seem like weak tea, given the enormity of the current changes, but if our test for any new way of producing news is whether it replaces all the functions of a newspaper, we’ll build things that look like newspapers, and if replicating newspapers online were a good idea, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.

If we adopt the radical view that what seems to be happening is actually happening, then a crisis in reporting isn’t something that might take place in the future. A 30% reduction in newsroom staff, with more to come, means this is the crisis, right now. Any way of creating news that gets cost below income, however odd, is a good way, and any way that doesn’t, however hallowed, is bad.

Having one kind of institution do most of the reporting for most communities in the US seemed like a great idea right up until it seemed like a single point of failure. As that failure spreads, the news ecosystem isn’t just getting more chaotic, we need it to be more chaotic, because we need multiple competing approaches. It isn’t newspapers we should be worrying about, but news, and there are many more ways of getting and reporting the news that we haven’t tried than that we have.

Worth the read.