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‘Messiness’ of Internet will shape new media

May 31,2007
Chris Anderson
We have to redefine media and journalism because the Internet allows people to pursue finer, narrower interests, said Chris Anderson, author of the “The Long Tail” and editor in chief of Wired magazine. Speaking at the Seoul Digital Forum yesterday, he said traditional media must create a venue for two-way communication so that readers do as much writing as reporters.
The reason the 20th century was dominated by mass culture was not because it was a reflection of who we are and what we want, but because of the influence of broadcasting, he said. The 21st century, however, will be dominated by niche culture, as redistribution occurs away from mass culture towards a “long tail” of specific interests, he said.
In particular, Anderson forecast that all content will eventually go online. “Most television is free, so free content is not new, but we’re competing with 70,000 bloggers who not only produce for free, but are not paid for their work,” he said. “We can’t produce as many words as the blogosphere, which appeals to a narrow focus ― and there is an infinite number of narrow tastes out there.”
He said that traditional media and journalism is like a lecture or a one-way conversation and that to compete with the “long tail,” media must take a hybrid role, by suggesting topics and steering discussion for audience participation.
“This is not a radical concept in a country that has Ohmynews, but it’s one thing for a startup to begin user-generated conversational media and another thing for a larger media company to adopt these principles.”
Anderson suggested that media salespeople must sell smaller ads at lower prices rather than large ads, and that corporate culture must change, because media will not be able to control all content. “You have to deal with messiness, which is inevitable online,” he said.


By Wohn Dong-hee Staff Writer [wohn@joongang.co.kr]



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