Nelson hits a homer at APME
If I may indulge in the cliched baseball terminology so evident this time of year, Alan Nelson of Command Post hit a home run with his speech to the Associated Press Managing Editors meeting. It was posted Sunday, but I hadn't seen it until Rafat Ali at PaidContent pointed to it today.
You need to read this.
Though I disagree with one part of it (see post below), I think Nelson nails the essence of the challenges traditional journalists face in the evolution of media with his Law of the Flow, Law of the Fast, Law of the Few and Law of the Many.
The Cliff notes:
- Law of the Flow/Law of the Fast: News is now a flow, not something to gain value from being stockpiled anymore. "The Internet hates brokers. It KILLS brokers. ... Your ability to choose when and how something is reported, and the timeline over which you can hold information as you make that choice, are more compressed every day. .. The important question to ask about a piece of information ... and especially highly relevant information ... is no longer 'if,' it's 'when.' "
- Law of the Few: "While the network kills brokers, it LOVES editors." Nelson labels them mavens -- the ones who cull the relevant information "and surface what's worth attending to." Distinguished from gatekeepers, mavens cull and move it, not cull and consider it. This is where Nelson sees editors as "guides," not gatekeepers. This is not a totally new idea. John Newhagen and Mark Levy were using the term "pathfinders" in a seminal book chapter as far "back" as 1998.
- Law of the Many: The media system we are building will have tens of thousands of fact checkers, lessening if not obviating the need for editors as a "gatekeeper of the facts with an interest in quality." This is where Nelson and I diverge. I think this is a simplistic argument that fails to recognize that no amount of self-correction can undo the damage originally done by inaccuracy or falsehood.