I’ve never been one to say, “Bloggers are going to take over the world.” In fact, I don’t know too many if any bloggers who seriously believe that blogging, or any kind of user-generated content, will replace traditional journalism. If traditional journalism dies, I tend to believe that it will be because we haven’t figured out the digital revenue model, not because blogging buried us. It takes a lot of work, dedication and financial resources to do quality journalism. Those are prerequisites some bloggers and other types of citizen journalists possess, but rarely, and certainly not yet in numbers sufficient enough to replace newspaper journalism.
But then I read about sites like the New Haven Independent and I think, here is a publishing model that is truly disruptive (and therefore a real threat to newspapers). Editor’s Web Log has a lengthy post about the online-only publication.
Although he is an old media reporter, Bass finds that journalism on the Web is â€œdefinitelyâ€? more efficient than print journalism. For starters, the Independent doesnâ€™t have an office. â€œOur reporters are out reporting all the time instead of talking in the newsroom,â€? explained Bass. If he meets with his staff to discuss stories, they do so in a local coffee shop. Secondly, Bass doesnâ€™t have to wait until stories go to press; as soon as an article is ready, it is posted on the Independentâ€™s site.
In what is perhaps the most efficient characteristic of Internet reporting, Bass and his staff have their stories proofread and fact-checked by readers. The Independent has even started a contest through which the reader who catches the most typos wins Independent paraphernalia.
If I were the publisher in New Haven, I’d be very, very nervous.
It’sÂ worth noting, though, that Bass is a professional journalist.Â He may represent the kind of hybrid pro/citizen journalist who is the biggest threat to traditional publishing and broadcasting.