What if the middle man disappeared? (Or picked his battles)

What if the middle man disappeared? (Or picked his battles)

How people get their news is changing, which changes how the news is made. I’m not sure anyone really knows where it’s going (and I’m sure I don’t). But here’s a path I wonder about sometimes, that Darren just reminded me of by mentioning “churnalism” — a derogatory term for practice of rewriting press releases and calling it news. To be clear, I’m not saying I hope this is where we’re heading, I’m musing out loud about something I find partly ominous. I also see it as a possibility if certain existing traits of the current news environment thrive and outcompete others. Follow your own news What if mainstream media organizations gave up on covering anything that came written well in a press release? As in, if there’s enough in the release that “churnalism” could be practiced, it just isn’t. The public would still get the information that’s available from the big institutional sources of news by signing up to those institution’s feeds. Instead of reporters tasked with checking whether there’s anything new from the Delta Police or Vancouver Coastal Health, the people who want to know what those bodies have to say pull the information in themselves. Aggregators would emerge (probably from the news media and elsewhere) to curate feeds for people who aren’t interested in doing that themselves. This is something we already see, a bit. Celebrities talking directly to fans via social media to bypass critical coverage. PR people with more followers than the reporters they pitch. What, role, then, would journalists play? One possible path (and my hope, in this thought-experiment) is that by curbing...