Friday, October 2, 2009

The ways Social Media is changing the news

Stating the painfully obvious, social media is completely changing the way news is gathered and shared. It's also rewriting the economics of the news business. But because of social media, is news itself changing? In other words, is news new?

I can see some obvious ways that social media is changing the substance and character of the news:

Velocity – The news business has always been about first-to-market advantage. Getting the scoop and being first was always the goal, and social media is clearly a news accelerator. Social media makes all news almost instant.

Volume – a side effect of social media is that the shear amount of news that we get is becoming overwhelming. It is repetitive, overlapping, redundant, contradictory and endless.

Veracity – A recent Pew Research report showed ratings for press accuracy had hit a two-decade low. The straightforward factual accuracy of a lot of news – in fact, the paucity of anything approaching a fact in a lot of news reports – makes this finding unsurprising.

Validity – It's getting harder to take news at face value. It's difficult to know if a news source is always credible, and almost impossible to verify.

Value – the real dollars-and-cents value of a lot of news is plummeting, a victim of over-supply. The news market is saturated and the barriers to entry as a news source have fallen away.

What have I missed?

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