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Bill Gates’ prediction of all media converging to Internet also means convergence of newspaper and TV newsrooms 5/9/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Convergence, Gates, Newsrooms.

In a speech to 1,000 advertising professionals in Seattle yesterday, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in effect predicted that all forms of news media – newspapers, TV, and radio – will ultimately converge onto one medium, the Internet. In his advertising-focused remarks, Gates said, “newspapers will go online, and there will be massive innovation that comes out of that…TV, the biggest ad market in the world, will completely go online and have the kind of targeting interaction that you only get out on the Web today.” If Gates is right, and he usually is, this means that in the future online newspapers and online TV news channels might be head-to-head competitors, just one mouse click away on the web. The online newspapers would specialize in news delivered via text, while the online TV news channels would specialize in news delivered via audio and video. The only problem is…this makes no sense. But, what does make sense is for each individual news web site to deliver each news story using whatever combination of text, audio, and video is best for communicating that story. So, assuming mass media survives, the segregation of print and broadcast journalists’ newsrooms, which has been largely based on their use of different communications technologies, is coming to an end.


1. Dan Myers - 5/11/07

The problem with eliminating print news is that, once printed, bound and distributed, the original version of the story is permanent. Once it is all electronic Eurasia could be changed everywhere to Eastasia with a few clicks from central control. (See Orwell’s 1984.) Already we hear reports of polls from the recent Republican debate disappearing from the web after reporting a large lead for Ron Paul.

2. Larry - 5/11/07

How does Wikopedia fit into your thoughts – i.e., developing websites where input from everyone can be edited by everyone (and policed and re-edited by everyone?)!

3. Steve Boriss - 5/11/07

Larry, Personally, I believe that systems like Wikipedia, as useful as they are, will never be particularly good at reliably providing truths because the people with the passion to write entries are few in number, likely to have an axe to grind, and experience no accountability for being wrong. But many similar systems that do not have these limitations can work quite well, albeit not perfectly. I’d cite as examples the setting of prices by marketplace functions (including the stock market) and democratic elections.

4. Brian Fuller - 5/15/07

Another issue that reporters, even younger ones, tend not to be five-tool players when it comes to multimedia. If established media companies are to navigate the waters ahead, they’re going to need reporters who can do a story multiple ways with multiple media. Part of this equation is that it should be done this way; the other is that media companies will demand this sort of lean and mean style. Keep up the good work, Steve!

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