Chris Anderson, the Wired editor-in-chief and author of ‘Free’, has had it with newspapers. No seriously, he’s through. He doesn’t care. And journalism? And Media? Kids those words are so passe.
Anderson, who struck it big with his book ‘The Long Tail’ and wants everything to be ‘Free’, has given a long interview to the German weekly Spiegel where he makes a string of provocative statements as he talks about the internet’s challenge to the traditional press.
Spiegel kicked off by asking Anderson about the future of journalism. The
interview could have stopped right there. Anderson was already annoyed
and made this clear. He doesn’t use the word “journalism” and the
word “media” is also a no no.
Anderson: This is going to be a very annoying interview. I don’t use the word journalism.
Spiegel: “Okay, how about newspapers? They are in deep trouble both in the United States and worldwide.”
“Sorry, I don’t use the word media. I don’t use the word news. I don’t
think that those words mean anything anymore. They defined publishing
in the 20th century. Today, they are a barrier. They are standing in
our way, like a ‘horseless carriage’.”
It must be tough for
Anderson who is (okay among other things) a “magazine editor”. Sadly,
Spiegel did not ask him about this, what it did ask him was what other
words would he use instead of media and journalism.
And I have to
tell you at this point things start to get really difficult. Apparently
there are no words. That’s right, like not at all.
“There are no
other words. We’re in one of those strange eras where the words of the
last century don’t have meaning. What does news mean to you, when the
vast majority of news is created by amateurs? Is news coming from a
newspaper, or a news group or a friend? I just cannot come up with a
definition for those words. Here at Wired, we stopped using them,”
Anderson told Spiegel.
Is it just me or is Anderson, you know, like full of himself? I wish to add here that it isn’t only me as others have also noted this “fullness”.
kind of want to jump in and shout words like: content, editorial,
commentary and analysis and ask: “Don’t any of these words have any
meaning? Are they all redundant?”.
At this stage in the
interview, the German “journalist” turns to the subject of
“newspapers”. I’m guessing here that as “news” has no meaning then it’s
likewise for newspapers. I’m kind of right here as Anderson really does
not care about newspapers.
Spiegel: “So did you read a newspaper this morning?”
Spiegel: “Your local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, is fighting for survival. If it was to disappear tomorrow…”
“… I wouldn’t notice. I don’t even know what I’d be
missing…newspapers are not important. It may be that their physical,
printed form no longer works. “
Speigel: “So how do you stay informed?”
“It comes to me in many ways: via Twitter, it shows up in my inbox, it
shows up in my RSS feed, through conversations. I don’t go out looking
Speigel: “You just don’t care.”
Anderson: “No, I do care. You know, I pick my sources, and I trust my sources.”
strikes me that for a “journalist” (in part at least) who works in
print to dismiss newspapers so out of hand as almost akin to biting the
hand that feeds you. That could just be me.
Wired like every
other print product has seen its advertising revenues plummet. The New
York Times reported earlier this year that Wired has lost 50% of its ad
pages so far this year, ranking it among the worst off of the more than
150 monthly magazines measured by Media Industry Newsletter.
How many people would miss Wired if it closed? Would Chris Anderson? Does he still want us to go out and buy it even though he gives the indication that he wouldn’t got out and buy a printed publication himself (he’d have a point as he would have to pay for that “media”, as it wouldn’t, you know, be free).
goes on in the interview to talk extensively about where he gets his
news from. He talks RSS and Twitter. He loves these technologies (as do
we all) and how he and others are still trying to figure out how we can
all make money out of the web to fund our future.
All this comes after critics recently took a swipe at his new book,
‘Free: The Future of a Radical Price’, with the FT saying that the
problem with Anderson is that he veers between sweeping statements and
balancing paragraphs in a manner that leaves the reader unsure of what
he is actually saying.
Read more on Chris Anderson and newspapers, he doesn’t care anymore…