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Friday, February 04, 2005

Is the Editorial Page Where the MSM Will Find Cyber-Salvation?

More than a few denizens of the typical daily newspaper newsroom these days fear for the future of their chosen employers. Circulation declines continue unabated despite the best efforts to stem the red ink, classified advertising revenues are fleeing to the Internet and rare indeed are readers under 30 years of age who ever even pickup a daily at a newstand.

But there is more than mere hope for the survival, perhaps even the renewed prospering of the traditional daily newspaper, but only if, according to Dan Gillmor, the people in charge recognize they must become part of "the conversation with the community and, even more, helping community members have a conversation among themselves. Newspapers, given their positions, can be at the center of this conversation -- not the object of it in most cases, but the enabler and, to some extent, agenda-setter."

The "conversation," of course is the one enabled by the Internet, especially via blogs. News is 24/7 and so is conversation about the news. That is why news consumers, not news providers, now drive the news process.

But Gillmor makes an interesting point this morning on his "Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism" blog - it may well be the editorial page that holds the key to the traditional daily's opportunity to become engaged in the news conversation in any given community. People on the news reporting side of the newsroom likely are scoffing now as they read that assertion, but Gillmore makes a convincing case, which you should read in full, starting here.