Steven Johnson and the Ecosystem of News
Steven Johnson, known best for his hyper-local community site outside.in, was a one-man show Friday at the panel “The Ecosystem of News.” His lecture, which was was full of very good analogies and metaphors regarding the news industry, began with reflection on how Johnson used to get his news on the Mac industry through the print edition of MacWorld and how that evolved with the development of the Internet.
Essentially what Johnson was trying to convey is that the news industry is evolving much like a natural ecosystem would. The news industry is going through an evolution that will unfortunately leave many a great journalist and editor jobless at the end of the day, according to Johnson. However, he said news is more relevant than ever as evidenced by the ever-increasing online audience. While the online audience for news continues to increase, consumers that prefer print are on the decline and advertisers have not caught onto or made the switchover to online. More importantly, Johnson suggested that the majority of news readers want is hyperlocal information that is largely in the long tail. Once journalists and advertisers can embrace a new business model and cater to the need for hyperlocal information, perhaps the evolution of the ecosystem of news will come full circle.
Johnson has posted the full transcript of his talk, which is definitely worth the read if you couldn’t get into the panel yesterday, or you can watch snippets of his talk that I filmed yesterday.