Chris Anderson is so, so wrong

Tyler HurstReview4 Comments

This man, who apparently thinks the future of everything is Free, refuses to use the words journalism and media in some attempt to reshape the way he views the world.

In this interview, he says he doesn’t read newspapers, but then admits to reading articles sent to him through RSS or Twitter.

What he’s saying is that media and journalism are dead because he doesn’t go to their sites or buy their newspapers. Really? Really Chris Anderson? HOW WOULD THOSE STORIES BE WRITTEN IF NOT FOR MAINSTREAM MEDIA? I get they are delivered differently now, but they still form the backbone of how we receive our information.

How can someone in charge of a magazine, with both an online and offline presence, say these things seriously? Who hired this guy?

Tyler HurstChris Anderson is so, so wrong

4 Comments on “Chris Anderson is so, so wrong”

  1. Evo Terra

    Note that this is in no way my defense of what Chris Anderson said or what you may have thought Chris Anderson said. I've yet to read or listen to Free yet. So with that caveat:

    There exists key differences between the printed magazine/newspaper and the online magazine/newspaper — revenue. For *most* mags/news, the paper is subscription or pay-by-the-issue based. Unsure which revenue stream is larger, but it's immaterial. People pay to hold the paper in the hand. It's a direct flow back to the publisher.

    With online publishing, the model is different. For *most* publications, we don't pay to read them. OK, we pay for our internet connection and we pay for our computer. But that's not money flowing directly to the publisher. They still *can* make money, but it's charging a different person. Here they are charging advertisers and sponsors for the privilege to put their ad in front of the readers. The readers do not pay. The sponsors do.

    Why make a fuss about this? Well, *most* magazines/newspapers also have advertising revenues in their print publications. So they get money two ways — from readers and advertisers. That changes on the web.

    I'll go on a limb and say that magazines/newspapers that are currently giving away their content for free cannot switch to a for-fee model for that *same* content. That ship has sailed. Use whatever metaphor you like, but they can't simply start charging for content. Not when I can get the same or similar content — at least content I value as much (perhaps more) — for free in other online sources.

    To me, that's the challenge of the FREE economy. How does an organization re-tool it's product offerings in a world where news and information is non-scarce? If circulation numbers continue to decline, how will the mainstream media afford to pay the writers, photographers, editors and paper-shovers they so recently gainfully employed?

    The answer — they can't. It requires a fundamental shift in how they do business. Perhaps even a shift of the business they are in. I don't suggest to have the answers. Chris might, but I'd have to read his book to see that. But I do know that I, like Chris, do not consume my news from the physical copy of publications any longer. It's all about the RSS, baby. Which means my habit of paying them has changed, but their habit of paying their people hasn't. Since I'm unlikely to start paying them again, they need a new plan.

    Mainstream media may not be dead, but the environment they thrived on for so many years has changed. They will be forced to adapt or die.

    Oh, and I did mention that this isn't about what you think Chris thinks or what Chris thinks, right? It's about what I think. Your blog post took a huge turn away from ME, so I brought it back. đŸ™‚

  2. Evo Terra

    Note that this is in no way my defense of what Chris Anderson said or what you may have thought Chris Anderson said. I've yet to read or listen to Free yet. So with that caveat:

    There exists key differences between the printed magazine/newspaper and the online magazine/newspaper — revenue. For *most* mags/news, the paper is subscription or pay-by-the-issue based. Unsure which revenue stream is larger, but it's immaterial. People pay to hold the paper in the hand. It's a direct flow back to the publisher.

    With online publishing, the model is different. For *most* publications, we don't pay to read them. OK, we pay for our internet connection and we pay for our computer. But that's not money flowing directly to the publisher. They still *can* make money, but it's charging a different person. Here they are charging advertisers and sponsors for the privilege to put their ad in front of the readers. The readers do not pay. The sponsors do.

    Why make a fuss about this? Well, *most* magazines/newspapers also have advertising revenues in their print publications. So they get money two ways — from readers and advertisers. That changes on the web.

    I'll go on a limb and say that magazines/newspapers that are currently giving away their content for free cannot switch to a for-fee model for that *same* content. That ship has sailed. Use whatever metaphor you like, but they can't simply start charging for content. Not when I can get the same or similar content — at least content I value as much (perhaps more) — for free in other online sources.

    To me, that's the challenge of the FREE economy. How does an organization re-tool it's product offerings in a world where news and information is non-scarce? If circulation numbers continue to decline, how will the mainstream media afford to pay the writers, photographers, editors and paper-shovers they so recently gainfully employed?

    The answer — they can't. It requires a fundamental shift in how they do business. Perhaps even a shift of the business they are in. I don't suggest to have the answers. Chris might, but I'd have to read his book to see that. But I do know that I, like Chris, do not consume my news from the physical copy of publications any longer. It's all about the RSS, baby. Which means my habit of paying them has changed, but their habit of paying their people hasn't. Since I'm unlikely to start paying them again, they need a new plan.

    Mainstream media may not be dead, but the environment they thrived on for so many years has changed. They will be forced to adapt or die.

    Oh, and I did mention that this isn't about what you think Chris thinks or what Chris thinks, right? It's about what I think. Your blog post took a huge turn away from ME, so I brought it back. đŸ™‚

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