Friday, February 1, 2008

Don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

Part of the problem affecting news organizations right now isn't simply the notion that giving away their news for free is killing them, it's that there are so many new ways of interacting with information that can lessen the need to go to a traditional news site.

Take, for instance, the current (as I write this) top 50 Google Trends listing:

Anyone want to guess what the biggest story touching people's lives is right this instant? Clearly there's a massive snow storm pummeling Chicago. People have woken up and want to know if the schools are open. I know this not because I've gone to one of the dozen or so news sites that are being queried on Google, but because the aggregate data of Chicago news organization searches and snow closing searches clearly point to only one logical conclusion.

One silver lining: Clearly when there's an emergency, people still turn to news!

One not-so-silver lining: Bad news for print--apparently nobody thinks of it as a breaking-news medium, as every single search is for TV and radio.

One bonus lining: I love that enough people have gotten sick of the Midwest winter at the same time that they've queried "Groundhog Day" enough to spike it into #28: