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Main > Archives > 2007 > May > OnHollywood: Breaking the Breaking News Code

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

OnHollywood: Breaking the Breaking News Code

The OnHollywood conference this morning is having a session on the changing face of news online.

Who spoke:
Kara Swisher, Co-Producer, D: All Things Digital
Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder and Editor, Huffington Post
Alan Citron, General Manager, TMZ.com
Kevin Rose, Founder, Digg

Kara asked Arianna about promiscuity on the web and the integration of print and online. Arianna said it is no longer a choice of print or online, but both. She said that users don't have to choose either, such as being forced to choose between "Ginger or Marianne." It's going to be a threesome," Arianna said. Kara said that that was fine by her, "as long as Mrs. Howell isn't involved."

My Take: No kidding. A newspaper isn't something that comes out once or twice a day, it is ongoing operation, and nearly every publisher is rapidly embracing the idea. While this increases the cost of staying relevant, the cost per news story and ability of publishers to leverage reporter's expertise is huge.

Kevin was asked about the Digg rebellion from yesterday. He said contributors posted code used to imprint HD DVDs which could be in violation of the DMCA. They got a cease and desist order, and after consulting with Digg's lawyers, they took the posts down. "Our community rebelled against it" posting code strings thousands of times, claiming posting the code is free speech. After internal deliberations, Kevin said "we reversed our decision and allowed the code to be posted." We will take our chances and face the lawsuits.

My take: Digg underestimated the opposition of censorship in its users and should not have taken the code down so quickly. They learned an important lesson, and any legal costs will be worth the "cred" they get with users. More updates soon.

Update: Arianna talked about how the mainstream media misses stories and has a short attention span, quickly moving on from important issues. She said mainstream media should be following Digg's lead to track the pulse of reader interest in topics. She said "the blogosphere acts as a court of appeals. When MSM drops a story, blogosphere takes it up to further the story and provide a narrative, and forces the MSM to take another look.

My take: Editors used to decide what was a story, but now citizen journalists, bloggers, and commenters to a great degree will determine what stories are kept alive. However, CNN and the entertainment programs will continue to keep unimportant stories such as Anna Nicole Smith going until the next celeb scandal takes its place.

By John Gartner at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)

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