New Media Models
Oxblog notices 18 Doughty Street, a British blogsite which is giving away 100 camcorders to anyone who wants to report on the following subjects: doctors on their experience of the NHS, ex-servicemen to talk about overstretch in the armed forces, residents of crime-ridden estates, trade unionists to talk about competition from emerging economies. Ultimately it will have an army of Baker Street irregular-type reporters. This is bound to do something. But what exactly, I can't say for sure.
Another blog based in the UK, Samizdata, notices the 18 Doughty Street site as well.
I wish these guys all the very best of luck in breaking the lock of the mainstream media on broadcast television in Britain and political coverage in particular. I am not sure if this outfit is going to feature a lot in my viewing habits, though. Given that I have to look at current affairs news quite a bit as part of my day job in London's financial centre, I actually deliberately avoid too much of the same when I get home, preferring to read a book, go to the gym, see a movie or just hang out with my lovely wife. But for the political trainspotters out there, this sort of venture should be a boon. My only carp at this stage is why choose such a dull name? Maybe there is some sort of perverse appeal about it.
I actually think 18 Doughty Street approach will work in one form or another. One of the most interesting news organizations in the world, in my opinion is Ohmy News, based in Korea has already gone where they are figuring on going. Ohmy News has redefined the word correspondent to mean "anyone with a camera". Pajamas Media is running a reader contest asking participants to guess how many embedded reporters there are in Iraq. Whatever the number actually turns out to be will be reflective of the MSM way of doing things. Giving away 100 camcorders to anyone willing to ask questions is a whole different ballgame. It would be interesting for some media maven to contrast the two approaches.
Lastly, I should mention Rednecks TV which has nothing going for it but intelligence, humor and some big old guys from Tulsa Oklahoma, which in a word means it has everything going for it. Watch them as they discuss everything from physics to the Long Tail economic theory while reviewing smokes, pork cracklings, beer and feminine hygiene products. Everyone talks about the decline of the MSM as if it were some sort of tragedy. But what we're really watching is an efflorescence. It's not that the MSM has shrunk, it's that the playing field has gotten larger.