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Alan's APME Speech

As I mentioned last night, Alan gave a speech at the Associate Press Managing Editors conference yesterday. He has posted the full text of his speech at CommandPost. I think it's something all bloggers - and blog watchers - should read. Excerpt:
Mavens are information geeks … they live on information, love to surface new information, and love to share that information with others. These are the people who are always bringing you new restaurant recommendations, new books to read, new products to use. Mavens and connectors have always been out there … the only problem was that their ability to connect and spread the message was primarily contained to those people with whom they lived or worked. The Internet, and weblogs in particular, have “lit up” the otherwise latent power of mavens and connected them in a very real way. A weblog is nothing more than a megaphone for a maven … and the Internet serves to make mavens instantly connected to the rest of the world … and more important … to other mavens. There’s a very important lesson here: bloggers should not be underestimated. They are not just average people … they are people who, long before blogs came along … had the ability to surface information and present it to others in a persuasive and compelling way. They are opinion leaders, and weblogs have only served to exponentially increase their reach and their power. There’s a second lesson here: and it’s that weblogs, are also read by other mavens. And so there’s an accelerant effect for information flowing through the network. When something comes up in the blogosphere it’s talked about by a few thousand people who drive opinion for large networks of people around them … which is why the mainstream media ultimately has had to recognize issues raised by bloggers … they’re things people are talking about. And there’s a third lesson: It’s that while the network kills brokers, it LOVES editors. Mavens are editors … the people around them trust them to cull the information that’s out there and surface what’s worth attending to. I don’t bother to try every new restaurant in town … I rely on my local food maven to try them for me. I think that in the newsroom of the future the role of the editor will change … from someone who works primarily as a gatekeeper of the facts with an interest in quality, to someone who “serves” the reader as a consumer based on an understanding of what readers will consider relevant
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Read Alan Nelson's (co-founder of The Command-Post.org) speech at the Associated Press Managing Editors conference. [Michele Catalano.] Here is an excerpt: ... In the news: Change or become obsolete, newspapers warned. [Read More]

Comments

I read Alan's speech and was impressed not only with the content, which was impressive, but also the underlying message to bloggers. I'm new at this--about a month. I'm slowly seeing my posts commented on and linked to-- your speech made me recall the lessons taught me way back when I was the editor of the editorial page in college-- that facts are important, that when you write, whether its for the Times or a local shopping newspaper (or now a blog) accuracy and truth matter.

Another point about the main stream media-- they opened the crack for the blogosphere, and focused cable news programs, by forgetting their own basic rules. If they truly acted impartially in choosing and reporting stories, if it hadn't become common knowledge that they are often sloppy and get it wrong (just ask anyone who has been a part of a story) they may have kept the need for a gatekeeper alive. Media used to be embarrassed to spell a name wrong, let alone completely miss stories. That is long, long gone.

This mirrors what happened with doctors. For all the talk about how HMO's have hurt medicine by requiring doctors to rush to make the same dollars, the truth is that they had become money-oriented well before HMO's. They opened the door because most people were treated badly--long waits, double booking, impersonal care. If your doctor doesn't know you anyway, what difference does it make if you switch?

If your newsource is slow AND inaccurate, why get your info there?

Damn good speech it was, too.

As one of the posts on his blog asked, I'd be interested to know the general tone and reactiion of those in the audience (having been to a few of these, I can tell you certain speakers -- and not just those on politics but also on presentation of the news -- get a reaction from the audiencec about like that of a 2-year-old trying to avoid eating spinach (though there have been speakers at these APME events who are far enough out there the audience is justified in thinking their spinach is laced with hallucinogens).

Damn. Very good insight.