Noted for Your Evening Procrastination for November 25, 2014
Liveblogging World War II: November 26, 1944: Eleanor Roosevelt

Legacy vs. Internet Media Once More: Live from La Farine

Screenshot 10 3 14 6 17 PMWith respect to:

Zumb: I've been thinking about what: "I don't doubt Shane's encounter with her former colleagues...

...but I still found the story a little bit off from what I've personally experienced.... Shane mentions that she thinks the pendulum is about to swing the other direction and she envisions talking to people at legacy organizations in a few years and saying 'You're still there? Really?!?!' I'd say 'You're still there? Really?!?!' has already probably been the single most common question anyone at a legacy news organization has gotten over the previous decade. The past decade has been a relentless drumbeat of departures....

It's not a pendulum. It's a wrecking ball and it's been swinging ferociously into legacy media and carrying away the rubble for more than a decade. I frankly know nobody in the rank-and-file who isn't taking it seriously. Even within the walls of legacy organizations, the legacy skills of reporting have lost their value compared to internet skills. Maybe it comes across as dismissive--that's one way humans cope with a wide range of existential threats--but make no mistake: the emotion is fear.

The question I have is: just what are these "legacy skills of reporting" that have lost their value, and just what are the "internet skills" that are now valued? The abilities to judge a source, to tell a story, to find a topic, to possess and convey genuine expertise do not seem to have lost value relative to the "internet skills" of writing in html or having a twitter account.

So what is going on?

As best as I can see, the legacy skills of reporting that have lost their value are the "skills" of having a big Rolodex containing a lot of people who are confident that if they talk to you the story will show them or their cause in a better light. This is a valuable skill in the pre-internet age because trading pieces of beat-sweetening for information is unethical but efficient: with it, you can write a story in a day in a world in which actually finding, assembling, digesting, and processing the paper trail to write the story would take a week or more.

But now the internet allows you to find, assemble, digest, and process the electron trail in an afternoon. Now the internet allows you to find the person who knows and cares and let them tell their story the way they want to. In this new world, trading pieces of beat-sweetening for information is as inefficient as John Henry's hammer in a world of laser drills.

At least, that is how I see it.

Am I missing something somewhere? If so, what?