But while it’s true that the reduction in production and distribution costs is bringing us many more options, it would be a mistake to leap to the conclusion that nothing will be sacrificed in the process. More choices don’t necessarily mean better choices. Many cultural goods remain expensive to create or require the painstaking work of talented professionals, and it’s worth considering how the changing economics of media will affect them. Will these goods be able to find a large enough paying audience to underwrite their existence, or will they end up being crowded out of the marketplace by the proliferation of free, easily accessible products? Even though the Internet can in theory accommodate a nearly infinite variety of information goods, that doesn’t mean that the market will be able to support all of them.
What journalism needs now is not nostalgia but experimentation. It’s time to get on with the essential task of trying everything we can think of to create effective new models of reporting, ones that take the existing capabilities of the Internet for granted.
I think it’s possible we will lose some of the public goods that newspapers under the old subsidy system were able to bring forward. People ask me about this all the time. (Because I’m a press critic, a scholar in journalism, and I write a blog about these issues.) When I tell them there’s no answer at the moment a strange look comes across their faces. A social problem with no answer? Is that even allowed?
So far the most controversial is Jon Talton's critical take:,
The notion that hundreds of part-time gadflies, blowhards, tub-thumpers, students and well-meaning good-government types can replace real journalism is silly. Much of the corporate media has embraced this fad for a simple reason: it costs less to have a housewife blog from the city council meeting for free.
But all of it is worth a read. Nice to see a very old dog learn some new tricks.