Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Technology Brings Change and This is Good

I was listening to talk radio on my way home today (yes I know I am an old man) and the hosts were lamenting the rapid decline of local news due to the internet.  You know the story.  People want news, the internet provides it when they want it, this kills off local news as viewership has moved online.

I find the death of an industry to be a fascniating topic.  I do not actually think we will see the death of local news.  I think it will decline and change form. But there is no doubt that more and more people are giong to go online for their news and that means less and less people will turn to traditional news sources like newspapers and the nightly local news.  The hosts argue that this would cause a decline in the quality of new available to people.

I find arguments like this to be hilarious.  Yes, news delivery will change but I do not expect it to be "worse".  In fact, I would argue it will probably get a lot better.  News will be both more focused and more dispersed.  I think it will be more focused in the large national news stories.  I do not think resources more thinly dispersed across more reporters equate to better coverage.  If you take the same amount of resources, and foucs them on fewer reporters, you could argue it will raise the bar required to report the news and thus only good reporters will actually survive.

On the other end of the spectrum it will be easy for someone small to reach a large audience. So if someone truly stands out and is an excellent source of news, it will be much easier for those people to reach more vast audiences.  We see this time and again as more and more small bloggers become vital sources of news for some people.

Things always change and wishing that technology would not change the "good old days" is just silly.  I am sure people were initially concerned for the horse and buggy maker and the blacksmith with the advent of the car but I think few would argue that all our lives are a lot better off because of this.  The same for mail delivery and e-mail.  I never send snail mail if I can avoid it.  Bad for the postman, pretty good for me.

I do wonder if I will ever get to the point that I am lamenting how technology is improving our lives.  What do you think?  Can you think of any technology change that you wish never happened?


  1. I forgot to add that I won't be sad seeing local news go away. Have you actually watched local news? There is a lot of crap on there.

  2. I haven't had a newspaper subscription since I lived at home, in high school (it was my parents' subscription, in fact). And I haven't watched news on TV for years -- I canceled my cable TV about 2 1/2 years ago.

    However, I do enjoy reading the newspaper occasionally at local coffee shops down the hill :)

  3. Oh, and today's LICD comic is coincidentally relevant to your post :)

  4. That is very coincidental. I've been experiencing a lot of that lately. I wonder if I pick lottery numbers will they come up.

    10 4 8 28 34 49

  5. If you watch Lost, you'd play: 4 8 15 16 23 42

  6. I don't buy the excuse of the decline in the quality of news. People get get access to the news faster and while it's hot (when it just happened) rather than waiting for the 6 o'clock or 8 o'clock. If newspapers and news anchors fear their craft is dying, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT (just like that Jack-in-the-Box commercial). What good will sitting around and reminiscing do? If 80% of your audience are now going on-line for the news, find a way to make yourself desirable on that format.

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