Jeff Jarvis occupies a fascinating position at the juncture of old and new media. Now, provoked by a speech given by an old friend before the Software & Information Indusry Assocation, he has put up a long post, arguing that blogs are in fact the Genesis Event for citizen's media, which will bypass many of the limits and institutions of existing media. RTWT.
It's an important post, perhaps the more persuasive for its quietness. There is more that can be said in rebuttal to the head of New York Times Digital. Particularly in speaking to the SIIA, the priesthood of professionalized, branded information. For him to doubt that blogs might be the "Pong of Electronic Publishing" is to fail to name the threat. Electronic games may have displaced time and dollars from the traditional media, but citizens' meda are a knife at the jugular of the branded aggregation model that calls itself Publishing (Electronic or not). Here the agenda is clear:
"Ultimately, journalism is about trust. In this new product vision, the aggregator's brand must remain trusted..."
Trust also arises from voice and authenticity, which are characteristics of individuals. Citizens' media allows them to compete on trust and viewpoint, head to head with professionalized mass media. Machine based aggregation lets the reader pick and choose, not the editor.
I get my headlines from Google News and Technorati, I pay attention when Glenn Reynolds does, and I pick up techno-human interest stories from BoingBoing. Every one of them has more influence on me than the editor of the New York Times, whose brand lies sullied in the gutter beside the BBC. Pong? Sword of Damocles, more likely.