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On The Mercury News Death Dance
As a new media journalist (aka blogger) myself I have been watching the spiraling down of this once great newspaper and wondering what we of great numbers and small individual market shares might be contributing to it.

If you follow the principles of The Long Tail you understand how great entities like metropolitan newspapers are struggling to stay alive against thousands of bloggers, Facebookers and YouTubers creating content all around them, competing for their precious reader’s attention while at the same time disintermediating the paper’s revenue stream (through things like Ebay, Craig’s List and even Google allowing sellers to connect with buyers in ways that a few short decades ago was impossible without advertising.)

As consumers of content also become producers of content (hence the term “prosumer”) each prosumer clamors and competes for their own audience attention. They don’t just compete with each other. Time does not expand to accommodate these new information sources. Something has to give.

Traditional mass media outlets (including newspapers) become like an elephant overcome by a sea of ants. How does a newspaper compete with a swarm, when the swarm is also their market? The time I used to spend fetching and reading “the paper” is now spent reading the blogs of friends, family members and the forum sites of my favorite hobbies. I do not even have to get off my couch to do this. (I am on my couch right now in fact!)

What is the point of all this? We have much more content available, and this content is free, mostly free of advertising and easy to get. This content is very compellingly targeted right at our favorite niches and scratches our itches. We can also free and easily produce content. It is so much fun we do this without being paid to do it. We can tap all this, do all that, but we still only have 24 hours in a day.

Newspapers cost money. Newspapers require us to make an effort to go get them. Newspapers have to create content that produces a revenue stream. Newspapers have to pay for people to produce and distribute their content. Most of the information in a given newspaper is not interesting to us. People who don’t “get” texting, Facebook, YouTube and the blogosphere will never “get” what is happening to traditional journalism. This is off their radar screen. It is not just blogging and the the blogosphere, it is a the superset of Internet distributed content I call the informationsphere.

Two new contributions to this informationshpere are some recent blog posts about the most recent layoffs at the San Jose Mercury News. These posts come from Ryan Sholin and Frances Dinkelspiel. Hopefully after reading these, then writing your own blog post, then texting a few friends, then checking YouTube, then checking Ebay, Craigs List and then updating your Facebook page then, maybe then, you will have time left to read a newspaper, any newspaper.

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Overwhelmed. That’s one way to describe my feelings during Ryan Sholin’s excellent presentation of new media’s growing presence in journalism. Though I’m definitely tech-savvy (read: a nerd) and am quite comfortable with – you might say cripplingly dependent upon – the Internet, I’ve admittedly been very late in joining the Web 2.0 party.

I refuse to join MySpace (though my friends made a fake page in my name and have gone to town with it), my Facebook page is, in the words of Dave Chappelle, “bombed out and depleted,” and my blog is, well, this. As I’ve said before, blogging is something I’ve only taken to recently, with this particular blog being my first real and consistent foray.

The main idea behind his presentation touched upon different approaches to news on the Internet from various sources. From Digg to CNN’s new venture, iReport, it is clear that organizations large and small are embracing not only the Internet, but the everyday user as a news source. This, to me, was the root of his presentation – we are all empowered to tell a story. The resources are available in all kinds of forms, be it a blog, a news site like Digg, or even a MySpace page.

What Ryan showed us last week simply reinforces what we as 21st century students have already or at least begun to realize: wherever our different paths lead us, the Internet is the thread that ties all of our futures together.

Is that too ominous for this blog??

Ryan Sholin talked about many ideas relating to the concept of Internet communication. These ideas provided us more insight about new media and knowledge. We get to be more aware of Internet communication and social networking. From Facebook to MySpace, it is inevitable for people to communicate through Internet more effectively. We become more depended to search information online.

I did not know what to expect from the presentation by Ryan Sholin. I honestly do not know much about the web, so anything would be profound to me. As his presentation began, I was astonished at the development of the web, such as Twitter, Digg, and other feeds. This aspect to his presentation was very interesting. But he also made me think of the web and its future. The thought that print media is slowly disappearing and the web is advancing is a scary thought to me. My major is in advertising. Most of my classes are concentrated on print media. Without it, what am I suppose to do?

But I was happy with his overall presentation. I felt informed and I think we should all learn from him. He is doing great things with the web and he’s making himself public with the world. We should all become well-known with the web. By doing so, we are preparing ourselves for the future!

Ryan’s visit introduced me to a plethora of new ways to access news. While we may think that CNN or ABC is news, many people are turning to user run websites for their information.

Ryan is doing something that we should all prepare for: being ahead of the technological curve. He has adapted to a constantly growing and ever changing field which is something every student should strive for. We cannot predict the future, but we can prepare for forseeable changes.

Another thing I learned from Ryan’s visit was that getting your name and work out into the vast online publishing board is very important and beneficial. You never know who will read your stuff and possibly even like it. Who knows, twenty years from now a journalists clips may all be online blogs and publications. The fall of the newspaper industry means that more people will be turning to the web for news, entertainment and leisure.

When Ryan Sholin came to visit our class, I did not know what to expect. Was he going to tell us about web publication? Was he going to tell us about carreer opportunities? Well, he did spend some time talking about these things, but Ryan spent most of his time showing us what he felt were the most hip and vital websites of right now.

I’ve known about RSS feeds for years, but after being introduced to Google Reader and some good sources of information, I set up my page in minutes and have since found myself spending hours on sifting through countless news stories, picking out ones I find interesting, and becoming informed. In the past week, this has become a welcome part of my daily routine.

Another key site Ryan showed us was Twitter, something that could possibly be described as a cross between a blog and instant messaging. Ryan clearly illustrated how this popular tool could be used to not only get informed, but actually get personally connected with those in the news industry. As much time as I have spent on RSS feeds, I have yet to set up a Twitter account, though I’m sure its just a matter of time.

Ryan Sholin showed us so many different blogging and news websites it was difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that people use these sites daily to express themselves and gain access to all kinds of information. Facebook, Myspace, Digg, Twitter, Live Journal, etc. have definitely earned a prominent position on the Web today. There are so many different social networking websites that if you become bored with one, there are ten others to choose from, awaiting your registration. I was shocked to see how many Ryan knew about and was an active participant in. I have a Myspace and Facebook page that I do check regularly, but I doubt I’d be able to keep up with any others in addition to the two.

“Going online” today is almost as easy and necessary as taking a breath; and I’m not 100% sure that that’s a good thing. I remember a few years ago I couldn’t go a day without logging in to Myspace or checking my e-mail. Today, however, I try to keep the number of times I log in to these sites limited. Socializing in general is becoming so impersonal these days, including the act of text-messaging, and I can’t stand it. I hear all the time about my friends “arguing” and “fighting” with each other through Myspace or Facebook messages – I mean WHAT is with that?! People are so quick to write down their feelings and click “send”, and that can cause people to say things that they wouldn’t usually say to someone’s face. I do believe that picking up the phone or meeting in person is a much better way to socialize, especially if it’s something important.

I’m curious to see what will appear on the Web in 10, or even 5 years…

When Ryan Sholin came to visit our class, i figured he would be telling me all this stuff that i already knew. I had mentally prepared myself to zone out. I was surprised when i was unfamiliar with almost everything he talked about and had visited virtually none of the websites. This was an eye opener to see quite how vast the new media scope is. I had some understanding as to how many people are involved in blogging, but just to think about the number of voices and opinions  that are available through the internet is unbelievable. Also the idea of using ones blog on your resume is geniuses. I never would have though of that.

Even as a person who relies on the internet for research, file transfers, networking, and low cost publicity via my self-branded website, I have to admit that I rather hate the internet. –  Read the rest of this entry »

I was very impressed by Ryan Sholin’s visit in class last week. I had no idea about 90% of the websites that he talked about and felt like I was totally old-fashioned. I now definetely want to update a bit more especially in terms of blogging. It makes sense to me that Ryan gave us the advice to have a blog to enhance our resumees.

I was also asking myself how Ryan can keep up with all these things and stay up to date. I find it very impressive and no questions asked it is very useful. However I think I would never want for technology and media to play such a big part in my life. I would not want my life to revolve around it and I think if someone really wants to stay on top of things they have to be very dedicated to it.

I enjoyed listening to the aspect of citizen journalism and how the internet pretty much gives everyone with a computer the opportunity to get their voice out there. I am defintely motivated to start blogging now. I’ll still use my MySpace though, even though it is old-fashioned =)