Increasingly I believe that we in the media business doom ourselves by our devotion to quality. Before you get out the gunpowder, let me explain myself. I love excellence. Awesomeness is, well, awesome. But the premature pursuit of excellence can kill you.
With an inflammatory headline and a misleading graphic, Wired has declared the death of the World Wide Web. This is nonsense, but many wish it were true, and the piece is worth reading as a starting point, just not a conclusion.
Ever since we began using computers to handle news -- which is probably a lot longer than you think -- there has been a notion of automating the processes of laying out pages. Long before InDesign, long before Quark, long before Pagemaker there were attempts to apply algorithms to news, to sort and arrange and place items on pages without humans driving every detail of the process.
There was a time when American journalism was the gold standard of the world. We created the world's first journalism school. Newspapers and, later, broadcasters all over the world looked up and tried to emulate our practices. But no longer.
I've traveled the world quite a lot in the last 10-15 years. I've read local newspapers and watched TV news in places where journalism once was illegal -- Moscow, St. Petersburg, Prague, the former East Germany. Around the world I've seen the influence of the American tradition, and it is a powerful force for good.
One wall of my office is covered with notes and diagrams trying to divine the future. Nobody can get it right, so I'm actually not worried about that. What's important is to generate views that are useful and helpful in planning. In that spirit, I thought I should share a few "predictions" and see what you all think. I'm thinking of the period 2015-2018. It's close enough to be real, but far enough to give the imagination some running room.