I’ve been mostly ignoring Internet Week, because the sessions look like a bunch of schmoozy marketing crap that doesn’t interest me. And for the most part, anything I really am interested will be streamed or blogged about or something.
But I did want to go to the Sources Go Direct panel at NYU, because I’ve been hearing this idea from Dave Winer (via blog and podcast) for a while, and I thought it would attract fewer “social media douchebag” types.
As described by Dave Winer:
Techies call it user-generated-content. Journos see a crowd. But when the news system reboots sources will go directly to the people who are increasingly thirsty for information, expertise and perspective.
On Wednesday our focus will be on how news and perspectives flow from the source, the person with expertise, to the destination — the people who want to be informed.
In the past, all news flowed through a chain of intermediaries who were selective in who they heard and added opportunities for distortion. On the other hand, as our contrarian Nick Denton is likely to argue, how do you find the good stuff in a sea of garbage? Our two true-believers, Wilson and Sterne are likely to have ideas about this.
Our discussion will be Internet-style, with a microphone that moves through the room. You may make comments, not just ask questions. The room will be packed with people with active roles in this area, and active minds. You don’t necessarily have to raise your hand to be asked to participate, so pay attention!
The panelists were Nick Denton, Gawker Media, Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures and Rachel Sterne, GroundReport.
Notes from the panel:
(I tried to rewrite them a little to make sense…)
OLD WAY: PR + execs + analysts + companies try to move IDEA (fact or point of view) from company to public
NEW WAY: Sources Go Direct
Fred Wilson reaches 125k ppl a month, 10k a day with his blog. Much of the clubby, private world of VC is now open, power shifted away from money to IDEAS. FW can get ideas out, and also gets them back through comments, reactions, other people putting stuff out. Big question: How to get ideas to market on larger scale than before?
Nick Denton: New elite of people actually publishing, not that different from old elite. Different people, different titles, same system.
Rachel Sterne: Gatekeepers replicate journalism power structure. Motivation: ego. People use Ground Report to promote themselves, advocacy, company, encouraged as long as transparent. Traditional outlets all have some agenda. Fred Wilson said GR should be great source material for mainstream journalism that can’t afford to get international news.
Lots of talk about startups, gatekeepers, media coverage. “Is Michael Arrington a nutcase or just entertaining?”
Dave Winer: Is it possible to get around gatekeepers?
Audience: gatekeepers have a legitimate function, earned the right for more important opinion
DW: maybe gatekeeper position is inevitable
And this is sort of the point where I think the panel started to go downhill. Some weird tangents, not a lot of buy-in to the topic from panelists or audience.
Search Twitter references with #sourcesgodirect.
After the panel, I got to meet some cool people I’ve been in touch with online for a while, but never met face-to-face. I always really enjoy that, because even though most people have photos of themselves posted online, it never quite matches the IRL experience.