Newsmakers 2.0

Back in the heyday of Journalism 1.0, there were relatively few newsmakers. So many reporters sought them ought for exclusive interviews, that a system of press credentials was developed. Coveted press passes were distributed at events where newsmakers were gathered. As citizen journalists have come on the scene, one of the few distinguishing characteristics of incumbent news gatherers and reporters are those press credentials. Meanwhile those newsmakers aren't what they used to be. Access to them is not as valuable. The news they make is not as newsworthy. The write-ups of their news is not as readable as it once was. It's the citizen journalists who may have the last laugh as the credentials they cannot get steer them clear of Journalism 1.0 chasing after exclusives, scoops and off-the-record interviews.

Another hallmark of the nearly bygone era was the idea of news as content. News was substantial and write-ups were regarded as first drafts of recorded history. The newsmakers were respected as historical figures when the news they made took on historical proportions. News of progress and setbacks made the passage of linear time seem significant. News cycles would go around on the straight track that advanced into the future. Anyone who did not follow the news was behind the times, out of touch and neglectful of their civic duty. Citizens were expected to be perpetually well informed in order to vote intelligently on candidates and ballot issues. They depended on the delivery of news as content to help them get that job done.

All that is changing as Journalism 2.0 takes shape. News is becoming processes with purposes. Content is part of those processes, but no longer news in itself. The passage of time and recording of history is losing significance as something that makes a valued difference. Newsmakers are everyone of us who is making a difference in others' lives, as our upgraded civic duty. The difference we're making is news to us when we find out it actually occurred as we intended or some variation of that. It's news to others for whom the difference was made that it was contributed, intentional and open to more feedback. The news of making a difference plays into making more and better differences. Newsmakers change the lives of newsmakers who then do the same in return. These cycles are virtuous, energizing and sustainable. These processes of making reciprocated differences are easily made transparent and embedded in online content.

Freemium models for news delivery are not likely to be sustainable when they get constructed out of 1.0 components. Free news as content that lures some to pay for additional content fails to offer 2.0 value, even if the newsmaker is high ranking or the news itself will make history. News about someone else (a newsmaker 1.0) making a difference is of little use as 'food for action". It will be questioned with disruptive frames of reference:
  • what am I supposed to do with that information?
  • how does that relate to what I'm intending to accomplish?
  • what context of mine could find that personally relevant, productive, strategic or valuable?
  • what's the real purpose of giving me that information?
  • what does that tell me about the differences I've made lately?
  • what opportunities does that define for me to make more and better differences?
  • what does this set me up to expect, predict or prepare for that serves my objectives?
I expect freemium models for news delivery will be very sustainable when the offering of new "processes with purposes" answer these questions superbly for each of us, the new newsmakers 2.0.


  1. As the price for online content tends to zero, the question becomes, what services can we offer that are perceived as valuable by the folks who read our news/views. As a consultant, it's pretty obvious. I blog for free and that raises my profile and increases my opportunities for paid work.

    What do journalists have to offer? I think the answer is something akin to what NPR local stations are doing, and that is connecting to their communities and offering a local platform for informed discourse.

  2. It's great to hear from your Harold! I'm thinking the Simple concept of "online content tends to zero" deserves some Complications. Certainly stocks will be come free before flows, in tune with your recent post. What is produced for mass consumption online will get marginalized before customized online offerings fall in price. Likewise blogs and tweets that merely shout out about another item will lose value before insightful critiques, questions, conversations and co-creations online. The abundance of superficial contributions naturally creates a perceived scarcity of deep contributions worthy of monetization.

    There a lot of journalists exploring what they're calling "hyper-local" models of journalism. Yours (and Robert Paterson's) highlighting of NPR's innovations are very much in tune with all that. As I've played around with all these 2.0 possibilities, I'm exploring how hyper-local may be accompanied by "hyper-useful", "hyper-transparent" and "hyper-reciprocating" forms of journalism. I bet I'll come up with a blog post about that sometime soon :-)