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Maybe professional journalism is dead?

Added on by Chris Saad.
The Scobleizer is once again (for the 495th time by his count) launched an attack against partial text feeds.

The most interesting part of his post, however, is the comments - in which he tells the guys at ZDNet that their content is good, but he would rather read coverage elsewhere because of their partial feeds.

The ZDNet guys claim they can't make money from full text - they need the traffic back to their page.

This comes back to a more long term question - how does one make money from the long tail.

In my post on the subject I quoted Chris Anderson who wrote:
Producers. Effect: Largely non-economic. I responded to a good Nick Carr post on this last year with the following: "For producers, Long Tail benefits are not primarily about direct revenues. Sure, Google Adsense on the average blog will generate risible returns, and the average band on MySpace probably won't sell enough CDs to pay back their recording costs, much less quit their day jobs. But the ability to unitize such microcelebrity can be significant elsewhere. A blog is a great personal branding vehicle, leading to anything from job offers to consulting gigs. And most band's MySpace pages are intended to bring fans to live shows, which are the market most bands care most about. When you look at the non-monetary economy of reputation, the Long Tail looks a lot more inviting for its inhabitants."

So four questions arise from this statement in the context of ZDNet and partial feeds.

  1. Are ZDNet part of the long tail? After all, they publish mainstream IT news. Perhaps the long tail can be seen as replacing the head?

  2. Is the Publishing/Advertising model dead as long as content, in its full form, is syndicated and repackaged by an aggregator resulting in little need for users to head back to the source and generate page views?

  3. Will we tolerate (and can we monetize) ads in the feed? The ZDNet guys say feed ads do not pay the bills.

  4. Do Aggregators have a social responsibility to somehow give back to producers?

This ties into another debate that has sprung up on Brian Oberkich's blog about his feed being used as part of a collective newspaper. He claims that it was OK with him until it seemed like the newspaper was running ads (which was against his CC) and he was being grouped with commentators he did not want to be associated with.

That page is, in essence, a single topic aggregator. What responsibility does it have to the publisher?

If professional publishing can't be monetized to sustainable levels, are we biting the hand that feeds us (as aggregators)? Or are we 'all the media' now and we don't need professional journalism?

Update: Brian says that the "Edge is not about content".
"You could always publish something to the Web. Now someone can acutally find it in real-time, relay it through their own attention signal systems (blogs (including link and tumblelogs), email, bookmarking services, social news sites, twitta, etc.) and help the collective swarm around things it finds useful."