From Variety comes this report that "the five broadcast nets' average live median age (in other words, not including delayed DVR viewing) was 50 last season." I'd love to know how much of that is due to a shift to Internet browsing, including video of course, and how much of it is a result of the networks driving us away with a barrage of painfully mislabeled "talent" contests mixed with out-of-control commercial clutter.
For more than a decade there's been a deep division in newspaper journalism between the "onliners" and the .. well, let's face it, we all called them Luddites. Dinosaurs. People who just don't get it.
But times change.
All across the country there are efforts to move online publishing responsibility and authority into the core news organization.
It is a move fraught with peril. I've previously warned of the many ways that this can go wrong. But I have become convinced of the following:
A long time ago someone said to me: "When the parent becomes threatened by the child, the stage is set for a Greek tragedy."
If reports are to be believed, that's playing out right now in San Diego, where Karin Winner, the editor of the decaying and decrepit Union-Tribune, has engineered the exit of Chris Jennewein and Ron James, two of the best online guys in the newspaper business. Not the first time this has happened. And sadly, probably not the last.
Back in the early 1800s a young French writer wrote some observations on the character of American society that I think have something to tell us about how journalists and newspapers should use the Internet.
The writer was Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville, and he wrote Democracy in America, a remarkably clear and astute commentary on the nature of American society.
B (Baltimore Sun) launched last week and a bunch of new Examiner sites in the process of launching in cities where the Examiner doesn't (yet?) publish in print. They share a webby characteristic that's radically different from the typical newspaper: They link. To the competition. Like crazy.
Here's another example of how the Internet has shifted power from institutions, and how that can be a good thing. While the Internet certainly has empowered whispering campaigns and hate bloggers, it also has enabled us to get to the truth behind badly reported news, if we care enough. Today I found the full Jeremiah Wright sermon from Sept. 16, 2001, in which he made the "inflammatory" statement "America's chickens have come home to roost." It turns out he was quoting Edward Peck, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and deputy director of President Reagan’s terrorism task force.