This afternoon when I was driving to lunch, a panel of journalists was talking on WGBH/NPR about the effects and changes “New Media” is having on the old print world. A couple of their assertions had me irked:

  • The reader commenting systems on newspaper websites are revolutionary and allow reporters to connect with their audience in the best of times, and allow general flame-warring and caustic comments to see the light of day otherwise – they seemed legitimately surprised at examples of self-policing.
    My Response: I agree that the comments better connect the writer with readers (people have commented on my blog, which is good), but I’m amazed that they actually think good, worthwhile readers actually put stock in or even read the comment section. I’ve been on many a news site, and I almost never look at the comments. I’m realising my behavior is different as a writer myself, but as a consumer I don’t give two hoots what poster #4 says most of the time.
  • Some of the panelists pondered that this “younger generation” who was growing up with the internet and commenting on everything might be in for a rude awakening when they have to go find a job and realize their boss “Googled” them and found all these comments on stories. Said boss might not agree with them and they would be out of a job.
    My Response: Great! I don’t want to be working for anyone who holds my personal views or opinions against me (provided my personal opinions aren’t hateful in nature, which they aren’t). I try to attach my name to everything I post publically on the internet and would stand by that opinion if asked in the future.
  • The Journos wondered if and when anyone would be ready to pay for content. They rehashed the same arguments I’ve heard before about memberships and paywalls, the economics of delivering a 3 pound brick of paper to every subscriber’s house, etc.
    My Response: OVER HERE! I will pay for content RIGHT NOW! If you’re a newspaper, here are the things you need to do to get my money:
    1. I am a college student, and I don’t want to commit to a year or month of “membership”. I like the pay-for-use iTunes model.
    2. Make the pricepoint good. I will get about 5-10 minutes of entertainment/information from a well written article. Then, unlike a 99 cent iTunes song, I’m probably never going to read it again. BUT, I would like the security of knowing I *could* read it again. Anywhere from 5 cents to 20 cents per article would be acceptable.
    3. Make it easy for me to pay. Paypal or some other web-wallet system please. I don’t want to sign up for another account. And do me a favor and make it one-click like Amazon does.

I don’t remember everything and I am running short on time for this post. All I know is I get really frustrated when old fogies start talking about the habits of “this younger generation” and it seems everything that comes out of their mouth isn’t true, at least in my case. Have some actual representatives of “this younger generation” talk on your radio program and then maybe we’ll get some insight.