Fusing the old media and the new

Sat, Aug 10, 2013

From Kara Swisher’s well written open letter to Jeff Bezos in the light of the latter’s announcement that he has bought the Washington Post:

To me, the most important trick is to deeply inculcate the joy of Internet journalism, without losing (actually restoring to some degree, after recent cutbacks) the great editorial values and breakthrough journalism of the Post. Fusing the old-media storytelling and news-integrity values that I learned at the Post with the Internet values of speed and personality — and, well, some level of fun at the right times — is critical.

In other words, make it clear that it is possible to do great journalism in an Internet way — even more possible because you’re freer and, most of all, readers want to read it that way. That entails inspiring the staffers of the newspaper to create content that is — as it has been — accurate, ethically sound, of high quality, but also much more compelling, and delivered in a way that modern customers want to consume it. Formulate those big stories primarily on the Web, and allow a conversation with readers to bubble up from there.

Please go ahead and read it, if you have not. It is long, but it is all stuff and no fluff. And it features a cat picture, if you are into that kind of things. The important thing is it makes a number of interesting, personal observations about the Post’s hesitation to embrace the web, gained from Swisher’s years at the Post during the rise of the Internet and expresses hope and apprehension about Bezos’s stewardship of the legendary news paper. The above quote stood out for me. It perfectly expresses both the potential and the pitfalls that await the Post under the aegis of a man of the Internet.