All the News that’s Fit to Upload

As writers and editors scramble to stake their claim in the open frontier of web publishing, the platform specialists are stepping in to change the game. The question of who will dictate the content and mediums of this virtual landscape has yet to be answered, which presents an exciting but sometimes confusing challenge for the writers and publishers of tomorrow.

In an article in his blog FasterFuture, David Cushman suggests that the narrowing of media’s focus will dilute the experience of direct news reporting.

“In a networked world we produce for niches (for ourselves), distribute peer-to-peer and get value from relevance rather than quality (we like both, but we’ll always take relevance over quality).”  from FasterFuture

For news aggregators and producers, the potential is thrilling but the complications are daunting. The iPad, as Cushman points out, is not a fluent device that acts as a natural enhancement to content. What it doesn, to put it bluntly, is make it pretty, and that is not the goal of the news, nor is it within the purview of narrative fiction or criticism.

All content is individualized. Marketing firms and advertising agencies would not have anything to do if the portioning out of demographics wasn’t a priority of every viable business. The concern, for writers and editors of evey ilk, is that the deliberate refinement of every article or story to a particular taste will drain innovation, risk, and, most alarmingly, basic quality from the content that is effortlessly posted on the web (or whatever iteration the publishing industry comes up with).

It seems clear that publishers, news agencies, and professional critics must accept the respsonsibility of content, and not allow the beautificaion of print distract them from the task at hand: creating viable content in an effective way.

The iPad doesn’t care if your work is garbage or if your news is patently false. The age of the editor and the sensitive writer is not over. It has only just begun- but only if the creative aspect of the publishing world does not defer its responsibility to talented promoters and their shiny screens.

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