Soundbite: “To Aggregate, Or Report?” Is All About The Benjamins
“But it’s Lam’s point about budget that’s really central to the situation. With a growing budget, more popular publications can afford to hire staff to work on original content: new features, marquee columns, event coverage.
With a modest budget, even the most bootstrap of reporters must resort to reposting or opining to keep the content flowing in between bouts of original reporting.”
—The Editorialiste on the impact of money on what gets published on the Internets
“You get what you pay for” has become a truism of free online content of widely varying quality. But in a Twitter klatsch, Gizmodo editor Brian Lam, Editorialiste Andrew Nusca, and AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka examine the other, linked side of the equation: publishers with fewer resources are forced to lean on the reporting of others to a greater degree. Then again, as Lam points out, even in the pre-link era, there were (and still are) plenty of ‘real’ journalists who rereported others’ work without attribution:
Brian Lam: the net’s greatest threat to journalism is not old vs new, its that reporters no longer get as much exposure to new sources in real life.
Peter Kafka: @blam biz problem, not tech. Encourage reporters to walk around, make calls, they will. Reward them for reblogging, they’ll do that.
Brian Lam: @pkafka true. but remember, in old media, they rereported stories from scratch that were already written by comp., instead of links. worse!
Peter Kafka: @blam true dat. plenty of old-media was (and is) essentially reblogging. that’s my point – not tech, but biz model.
The Editorialiste: @pkafka @blam so how to solve biz model incentive problem? what’s the answer?
Brian Lam: @editorialiste I think its a judgement call between aggregation and reporting. and a resource thing. reporting is expensive if done old way.
Indeed, as Nusca acknowledges in his post, Gizmodo has been at the center of one of the most fascinating developments in the tech blogosphere of the past few years. Under Lam’s leadership, Gizmodo has transformed from a straight-up tech news aggregator into what can properly be termed an online magazine with bloggy attributes.
There are still plenty of ‘here’s a paragraph and a link’-type posts, but features like the servicey, in-depth Giz Explains series, Bestmodo reviews, and regular one-off features wouldn’t be out of place in a Popular Mechanics or a Wired. And for the naysayers who think that aggregated content is the only kind that can survive on the Web, Gizmodo is doing very well, thank you very much: it’s the most trafficked Gawker Media site, with 6.1 million monthly readers, according to Gawker Advertising.
The Editorialiste post following the conversation further explores the balancing act that , and whether anyone but Google and its ilk will be able to profitably aggregate in the long run: it’s well worth the read.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org