Future news models

Andrew Nachison and Dale Peskin, Co-Directors of the Media Center at the American Press Institute, told an international gathering of editors over the weekend of their “visible future” for the news business. This involves creating models based on “the things we know are happening, and how things are emerging.” Interesting stuff.

The first is called the “know-trust network” — a personal community where informal networks are exchanging news, information and conversation. “They are becoming the principle means of learning and discovery,” said Mr. Peskin and they could eclipse traditional media.

The second is referred to a digital everything. “All news and information will need to be virtual, digital and mobile,” he said.

And the third proposition is the power of an individual person. “The individual — not large institutions, will exert unprecedented power,” he said.

These are two very smart guys, and I agree with their models. What they’re not saying is that these models are based on a decidedly Postmodern view of things. The “know-trust network” concept, for example, is what I’ve written about the idea of Postmodern “tribes,” and how anarchical trust/authority is built upon the experiences of those closest to us. It’s the Age of Participation, and this is one example thereof. The thing I like about what Nachison and Peskin are doing is that their models flow from an understanding that technology isn’t the horse driving the cart. It’s a cultural change, and technology is its servant. In fact, I’d say they’re quite far down the road of this understanding.

This is why I get so frustrated by attempts to weave new paradigms into the status quo. It just won’t work. It’s what the good book calls trying to “put new wine into old wineskins.”

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