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The Legacy Media's Brain Drain
By Ed Driscoll · October 14, 2007 07:39 PM · An Army Of Davids · Ed On The Radio · Oh, That Liberal Media! · The Future and its Enemies

Fellow Silicon Valley resident Alan D. Mutter writes, "As if the mainstream media didn’t have enough trouble navigating the uncharted realm of digital innovation, they are losing many of the young, technologically astute employees who could be their guides":

“What am I doing here?” a talented young designer and programmer working at a publishing company asked me recently. “These guys don’t get it. I’ve got to get out. I’m just wasting my time.”

Like the others quoted in this article, the young journalist is not being named, so as to protect his livelihood until he bails out of his MSM job.

He summed up the frustration of the twenty- and thirty-something professionals who grew up with a keyboard at their fingertips and an iPod, or at least a Walkman, plugged in their ears. They use modern media the way their generation does, not the way their fifty-something bosses wish they would.

But the young net natives, for the most part, rank too low in the organizations that employ them to be invited to the pivotal discussions determining the strategic initiatives that could help their employers sustain their franchises.

“In most organizations, the people with the most online experience have the least political capital,” said one mid-level online editor at a newspaper. “It seems like the pace of change inside media is slowing, tied up in politics and lack of expertise in managing technical projects – while the pace of change is continuing apace outside our windows.”

I don't have too much else to add to Glenn Reynolds' comments on the Washington Post's Marc Fisher's drive-by shot at XM satellite radio's new POTUS '08 channel, or Pajamas' weekly contribution to the 24-hour channel, PJM Political. Except to note that, just as former CBS (and later CNN) executive Jonathan Klein was unnerved that "a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing" could expose Dan Rather promulgating forged documents (to borrow from Pajamas CEO Roger L. Simon's weekly introduction to the PJM Political), it might surprise the WaPo's Fisher that the elements that go into the PJM Political show are assembled almost entirely in a series of home studios. Including the Glenn & Helen Show, Austin Bay's Blog Week In Review, James Lileks' segment, and my own interviews linking them together. Not to mention all of the editing, mixing and mastering, which I do on an a high-end PC designed primarily for music production, and armed with some pretty nifty audio software.

And while I'm proud of what we've been able to do on PJM Political, I still think the ultimate example of DIY production is England's 18 Doughty Street. Every day, they self-produce hours of high-definition live television for the Internet out of a London townhouse. I'm not sure if I'd want to do that! (At least not on a daily basis.)

As Mutter writes in the above link, the 20 and 30-somethings working in the nation's newsrooms know that this sort of programming really is the future of news--even if their bosses would rather stick with a model that's been outdated since Tim Berners-Lee found a way in 1989 to run a user-friendly graphical Web on top of an Internet that was already two decades old.

(And just wait 'til the 64-bit revolution in computing really starts to power the Army of Davids and their multimedia efforts.

(Via Small Dead Animals, whose graphic of a large and equally dead flyblown reptile couldn't be more appropriate for their post.)



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