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The Media The Internet

Future of Internet News? 315

Posted by Cliff
from the not-your-father's-style-of-journalism dept.
Matthew asks: "Now that the Internet has become an integral part of many people's lives, it has also become the place where many of us get our daily news reports (think Slashdot, New York Times, etc). The decentralization of the Internet offers many advantages over traditional media such as newspapers and television, as the user has more control over what to view and when to view it. But how does the future of this utopia look? With the uprise of ad blockers, are we going to be able to get our news for free? Will the Internet become a place for the "selected few" with money to spend? How do DRM and Trusted Computing play into the role? What does Darwin say will happen to newspapers, radio, television?"
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Future of Internet News?

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  • Bloggers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:07PM (#11389878) Homepage Journal


    Well, I have made the transition to obtaining almost all of my news via the Internet. It started back with the first news item I saw first on the Internet, the Oklahoma City Federal building bombing and has accelerated ever since. Certainly the future of news gathering will be via dissemination on the Internet whether that news is contained in Internet feeds of video from traditional news sources like CNN, CBS, ABC, etc.... but the growing numbers of blog reporting sites will become an even greater force in refining information delivered via traditional outlets and through the creation and reporting of novel news items. Of course 99% of bloggers do not have the resources individually that major news organizations have, but this is changing with group blogs and communities of bloggers.

    • by reporter (666905) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:23PM (#11390021) Homepage
      When we talk about Internet news, we must talk about it in conjunction with search engines like Yahoo! Search [yahoo.com]. In that context, the Internet has 2 advantages over the old style of retrieving news. First, Internet news means instant access to the latest and most in-depth information. In the old days, the quickest access was television (e.g. CNN), but it was not the most in-depth. (How much depth can you get by 2 minutes of coverage on the nightly news?) Now, you can access instantaneous analyses written by the "Washington Post" and the "Wall Street Journal" for example. Further, web sites at CNN and Fox News also provide in-depth instantaneous news.

      The second advantage is the real reason for the success of news on the Internet. The Internet serves as a huge database of old stories, facts, and analyses. In the old days, 2 years after you read a story in the "Washington Post", you may forget the exact details. Retrieving the original story requires a trip to the library and manually scanning through hundreds of reels of microfiche. In short, accessing the old story was prohibitively expensive, but that old story may contain critical information for assessing government policy towards, say, Taiwan.

      Now, you can use Yahoo! Search to simply find the old story and access it within 15 seconds. You can quickly determine whether our government policy towards, say, Taiwan is correct. No longer can charlatans and quacks fool or manipulate you as easily.

      In fact, I myself have used the power of the Internet to find the latest news about Taiwan and have summarized what I found [geocities.com]. The reality of Taiwan is quite damning of current American policy.

      • by aristus (779174) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:57PM (#11390330)
        I'm casting no asparagus here, but when the original source is gone and there is no "library" of archived material you can check against, how can anyone be sure that a newsitem on a geocities account is complete and faithful to the original?
        • Download copies of interesting documents + sign them electronically.
      • by flyingsquid (813711) on Monday January 17, 2005 @07:59PM (#11390850)

        No longer can charlatans and quacks fool or manipulate you as easily.

        Assuming that people want unbiased and accurate information. Often what people want isn't facts to help them make up their minds; they've already made up their minds and they want to hear the facts that justify their thinking. Look at how much money is made by Fox News or _Fahrenheit 9/11_. What's selling these days is propaganda, not unbiased news.

    • The future of news will be with the news aggregators like Topix.net [topix.net]. A system that auto-categorizes the news, finding news from far-flung sources about anything you might be interested in. No one has time to read every news source. The number of sources is only going to grow as more and more citizen journalists and blogs evolve into a network of reliable local news.

      Yahoo news crawls some 7000+ news sites, Google News [google.com] crawls 4500+ English news sites, and Topix.net crawls 10,000+ news sites. Once you add i

    • Re:Bloggers (Score:4, Informative)

      by BWJones (18351) * on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:27PM (#11390062) Homepage Journal
      I should also have included some relevant links to Internet based news sources bookmarked in Safari: [apple.com]

      Slashdot [slashdot.org] of course.
      CNN [cnn.com] of course.
      NYTimes [nytimes.com] for the writing and quality of reporting.
      BBC [bbc.co.uk] for the big mainstream non American news perspective.
      Kevin Sites [kevinsites.net] for on the ground reporting in Iraq.
      Dan Gillmor [typepad.com] for news grassroots news.
      CBS [marketwatch.com] for financial info.
      CNET [com.com] for tech news.
      Global Security [globalsecurity.org] for political defense news.
      Google [google.com] for a good news accumulator.
      Cryptome [cryptome.org] because John manages to pull some pretty damned interesting articles out.
      NPR [npr.org] of course. Don't forget to donate.
      Reuters [reuters.com] because they have the news.
      Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] for beltway news.
      Wall St. Journal [wsj.com] for more financial news.
      NPR Marketplace [publicradio.org] for more financial news.
      CBS [cbsnews.com] for mainstream US news.
      Technocrat [technocrat.net] for real science oriented geek news, like Slashdot only with less noise.
      Oh, yeah and
      Macsurfer [macsurfer.com] for a Macintosh community oriented news accumulator.

      • Re:Bloggers (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        BBC is worth an extra mention..

        The main article wonders about ad blockers. Well, as most of us probably know, the whole ad problem is solved on the BBC.

        This brings me to another point (and note that I'm not trolling): at least some Americans should get over their fear of government-affiliated institutions. "Throwing away" money can actually be quite good for many things: BBC doesn't have to worry about pleasing the advertisers, since there are none. Taxpayer funding luckily doesn't mean government control
    • My fairly recent change from surfing to RSS has changed my surfing habits substantially. Although I am trying a second RSS reader on OS X, most of the syndicated sites are blogs, with a few real news outlets. Groups of bloggers with varying interests filter so much information effectively, that the time required to actually find the information through casual browsing is prohibitive. While I read the bloggers critically, they help to get the news and interesting material to the surface. They're a filter rat
    • Unless you buy an online subscription, the news on the web is just headlines with little in depth material.
      Sadly many people today are quite happy with just the headlines. Makes me wonder what happes.
      • Re:Headlines (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BWJones (18351) * on Monday January 17, 2005 @07:13PM (#11390467) Homepage Journal
        Unless you buy an online subscription, the news on the web is just headlines with little in depth material.

        Yeah, so buy a subscription! People do need to realize that it does cost money to report news. From paying the reporter to outfitting them with camera equipment etc..., to paying news distribution costs (even Internet distribution has significant costs), it all is not free and if you find a news source that provides you with information you value, support them. Thus my admonition to support NPR. I send money to NPR, the WSJ and the NYTimes and Slashdot because I value their information. As to the others, their models make one view advertisements to pay for the delivery costs, and that is OK by me as long as they are not overly obtrusive and block the actual news.

  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tuxedo Jack (648130) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:08PM (#11389885) Homepage
    As long as people use IE and browsers that don't natively support ad-blocking (or pop-up blocking, as is the case up to SP2), ads will still be the driving force behind Internet mainstream news. Once ad-blockers really catch on, registration will be required more for spam purposes, then after that, it'll require real registration and payment.
    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Staplerh (806722)
      Once ad-blockers really catch on, registration will be required more for spam purposes, then after that, it'll require real registration and payment.

      I don't see the necessary links between these steps. This seems to be a bit of a 'slippery slope' argument that may not stand up to further examination. I don't mean to rule it out, but can you elaborate on your argument? I don't see it, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.
      • "I don't see the necessary links between these steps. This seems to be a bit of a 'slippery slope' argument that may not stand up to further examination. I don't mean to rule it out, but can you elaborate on your argument? I don't see it, but that doesn't mean it isn't there."

        I see it. If people continue to block advertising in whatever form it comes in, the ultimate solution to the provider is to charge for the information being published. Ads usually pay for things. The grandparent's argument requir
        • The content provider can embed the ads in the page without using pop-ups. Like Google ads, for example. I've used one major Polish newspare as a newssource, but they started forcing on me pop-ups in such quantities that I no longer read it. Another good newspaper has ads on a sidebar - doesn't bother me at all, and I still sometimes take a look at the ads, because they "behave nicely" and don't put me off at the first moment because of the rude way the pop-ups present themselves to the viewer.

          The conseque
    • Re:Well... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Mrhilaryduff (849543)
      I'd also consider 3rd party micro-payment collectors, or perhaps gov. approved companies to collect and regulate micro-payment for internet use. I would mind paying 1/3 cent to view my favorite website without ads. Would you?
  • Utopia? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sterno (16320) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:09PM (#11389893) Homepage
    Who said it was a utopia? Most people getting their news from major news sites that are offshoots of the same media companies that run TV. The other news is made up of what people actively seek to find out about. So that means people going out and finding the stories that reinforce their existing opinions, further fragmenting society.

    Utopia? Not as such.
    • So that means people going out and finding the stories that reinforce their existing opinions, further fragmenting society. Utopia? Not as such.

      You'd rather prescribe a correct interpretation of events, so the hooligans who disagree with you wouldn't be able to reinforce their existing opinions? What shall we call your centralized, monolithic, ideologically controlled and controlling news source? How about Pravda?

      • All I'm saying is that it isn't a utopia. Frankly we don't know the ramifications of all of this, and so I'm just suggesting that we should be taking this with a grain of salt. Sure there are good things, but shifts like this are always double-edged swords.
    • Re:Utopia? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zocalo (252965) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:29PM (#11390089) Homepage
      True enough, most major news sites are offshoots of the more traditional print and TV news outlets. However, the beauty of the Internet is that it is very easy to compare varying viewpoints on the same situation from different outlets and draw your own conclusions. For instance, you *could* just get your picture of the situation in Iraq from reading CNN.com, or you could do that, then hop over to the BBC, Al Jazeera, Reporters sans Frontières, Amnesty International and any others that might take your fancy for a much more rounded view. It'll probably be more accurate too.
      • Sometimes I think that way. Sometimes I see an article, and think that it's an interesting perspective. Then I go read another site and find almost the exact same article. Eventually I realize that it's each site, excerpting the same AP wire article, with just different quotes.

    • further fragmenting society

      Small groups of people with similar ideas and interests living together, Cooperating with other groups when desire or necessesity dictate... How is this a bad thing? Isn't this what the United States are supposed to be?
      • Red. Blue. That's the problem. It becomes too easy for people stuck in their little cultural bubble to think that the rest of the world should be just like them. People lose their understanding that in fact there are different people in this world with different kinds of lives.

  • by northcat (827059) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:11PM (#11389904) Journal
  • by mboverload (657893) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:12PM (#11389912) Journal
    When I read news, I want 3 page articles about it. Most of these stories you read online or in a paper could be put into one sentence and it would have the same value.
    • Really? I think you are in a very small minority. I think part of the reason for the decline of newspapers is that the current generation prefers fast, succinct information. With the Internet it's a lot easier to filter the stuff you are interested in (e.g RSS feeds), rather than sifting through a paper. Also, it's a lot easier to look up the details yourself if you ARE interested.
  • by bersl2 (689221) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:13PM (#11389918) Journal
    The content control becomes oligarchical. At least, that's where it leads.
  • by eclectro (227083) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:14PM (#11389928)

    It happened 122 years ago. News at 11.

    ergo, Darwin has nothing to say about this.
    • Also, since News services, as far as we know, isn't DNA based, doesn't use inheritance and wasn't bred using natural selection- I don't really think that Darwin would exactly be an authority you would want to ask even if he was extremely young for his age.
      • I don't really think that Darwin would exactly be an authority you would want to ask even if he was extremely young for his age.

        I'd settle for "mildly alive for his age", but you're perfectly right.
      • Darwin used contemporary knowledge of animal husbandry as a metaphor for natural selection. The same metaphor can be used for social structures. Try googling Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologists who first suggested the "meme" as a mental gene. "Gene" is actually a term for a unit of inheritance, an abstraction. DNA has genetic properties, but it is not a gene.
    • I think you've misunderstood; Darwin [apple.com] is alive and well...it's BSD [bsd.org] that's dead.
  • Truth? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:14PM (#11389936) Homepage
    You want the truth about how the future is going to be, not just for net news, but for most cool technology?

    Well, you know in cyberpunk movies how the technology always seems old and cobbled-together? Well, thats what people will start doing when things are commodotized enough and when they lose all the freedom they used to have with the old stuff. The "new shiny internet" (tm) will be a DRM laden piece of crap, and anybody who is interested will just hop on a darknet.

  • Newsmap (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mshift2x (686015)
    I think Newsmap, a quasi-graphical google-news site, will be a model for how news is "viewed" in the future. check it out here. [marumushi.com] It's quite easy to use.
  • Too soon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Staplerh (806722) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:16PM (#11389948) Homepage
    Hmm, I personally get the majority of my news from the 'net - the New York Times is simply prohibitively expensive in real life up here in Canada, and Google News and CNET provide some info that I wouldn't otherwise find in the local papers - which are quite good.

    That being said, I do read a real paper every morning with breakfast, and I don't see the current model of dual-distribution fading (that of the print edition + the internet edition. Some choice quotes from the post are simply not going to hold up:

    With the uprise of ad blockers, are we going to be able to get our news for free?

    I'd like to see some statistics, but I don't think that this is a widespread phenomenon. Indeed, I know a lot of tech savvy people and some don't use ad-blocker for philosophical reasons, and some are just too lazy (some do use it, and I think it's great). And the majority of people continue to use IE, and even smirk at the notion of switching browsers!

    The decentralization of the Internet offers many advantages over traditional media such as newspapers and television, as the user has more control over what to view and when to view it. But how does the future of this utopia look?

    Come now.. Utopia? Seems a little perjorative. Yes, there are advantages - but the good, fact-referenced (well, hopefully) stories are only there because of the ads and the print editions! The internet is in most cases a mere adjunct of the print edition. It does offer advantages.. but some disadvantages too. I love my computer, and I still prefer reading a print edition . . . can't even put a rational reason down. I spend most of my day looking at computers anyways.

    Will the Internet become a place for the "selected few" with money to spend?

    No. I don't think so. The current distrbution model is working just fine. Ad-revenues are good, and there are simply so many online sources of news (NYT, CBC, BBC, Washington Post, etc. etc.) that if one paper goes to a pay model, then boom - they just loose their market share. They could all get together, but that would be monopoly and illegal.

    So, for those reasons, I feel the future of internet news is bright and doesn't hold any of the radical changes forseen by 'Matthew'.
    • Re:Too soon (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SageMadHatter (546701)
      No. I don't think so. The current distrbution model is working just fine. Ad-revenues are good, and there are simply so many online sources of news (NYT, CBC, BBC, Washington Post, etc. etc.) that if one paper goes to a pay model, then boom - they just loose their market share. They could all get together, but that would be monopoly and illegal.

      That hasn't stopped monopolies from forming. My understanding, is that they see the government fines as a cost of doing business.
  • Pop-ups are quickly fading, replaced by ads that try to catch our attention. As I type this, I see strange happy faces and rays eminating from a person on the phone at the top of Slashdot.

    Soon you'll see product placement in the articles themselves. I saw I, Robot over the weekend and was disgusted by the blatant product placement and direct references by the actors.

    Pretty soon Slashdot might start talking about Linux in their news items or something.
  • Darwin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrHanky (141717) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:17PM (#11389960) Homepage Journal
    Yes, what would Darwin say about television, radio and newspapers? Let's see... Darwin was a biologist, and none of these are biological. They don't reproduce, so they're not susceptible to natural selection, and they don't need to mate, so sexual selection is also irrelevant. I guess evolution happens through other means in the media business.
    • Thank you! It's getting increasingly tiresome to see such abuse of Darwin's Evolutionary theory by people who quite simply have not taken the time to absorb the fundamentals.

      Spencer, on the other hand. . .
  • by David M. Sweeney (105063) <slashdot.sweeneysoft@com> on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:17PM (#11389963) Homepage
    How does the "uprise [sic] of ad blockers" change anything? We've been flipping past newspaper ads, going to the bathroom during TV commercials and changing the channel during radio ad spots for quite a while, and the free market hasn't collapsed -- how is the Internet any different?
    • even when you flip past newspaper ads.. you still see them. you might even read them through if you're bored. but with popup blockers it's as if those pages were totally removed, you never see whats on them and you never get temptation to even read what they're even advertising.

      that said.. i don't think popup / ad blockers will do anything drastic to anything. the adverts just change their form and creep into the stories themselfs.

      • even when you flip past newspaper ads.. you still see them. you might even read them through if you're bored. but with popup blockers it's as if those pages were totally removed, you never see whats on them and you never get temptation to even read what they're even advertising.

        that said.. i don't think popup / ad blockers will do anything drastic to anything. the adverts just change their form and creep into the stories themselfs.


        There is a very important difference. The advertisers don't know that yo
    • You might say, we've been able to copy video tapes, make tapes of records, or transcribe books and share them with friends for quite a while as well. The internet makes things that are the same in principle but on a smaller scale not only more possible but perhaps entirely comprehensive.

      You have to apply an individual effort to avoid each newspaper ad, leave the room during a television ad, and so on. Just as making a tape for a friend or transcribing a book requires a great deal of effort for each iterati
  • by pHatidic (163975) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:17PM (#11389964)
    Now that the Internet has become an integral part of many people's lives, it has also become the place where many of us get our daily news reports (think Slashdot, New York Times, etc)

    Slashdot::NYTimes as Dung Beetle::Elephant

    Albeit, I first found out about the Columbine shooting and the Columbia explosion the day both of those happened while checking slashdot.

    • Ah yes. Well that was in a past Internet life. Now Slashdot only posts stories 3 days after they occured, and 2.5 days after they've already appeared on other geek sites.

      I just visit Slashdot for the insightful comments.
  • Well, I am biased [memigo.com], but I think the future of news delivery is towards personalized news delivery, tailored to the interests of each reader. Memigo [memigo.com] and Findory [findory.com] (no relation) are two examples of personalized news agents. MSN Newsbot is also going into that direction and I am betting Google will follow soon.
  • Limited Spectrum (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vondo (303621) * on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:20PM (#11389993)
    My worry is that as people get more and more news via the Internet, they will self-limit the spectrum of the news they get. News on the Internet will come from an increasingly large number of sources with narrower and narrower viewpoints, and people will pick the viewpoint that matches their own most closely, thereby closing their minds to other viewpoints. In other words, amplify what Fox News has done many times over.

    I don't claim to be immune to this, the only on-line site I where I typically read in-depth articles is Salon [salon.com].

    • Why is this so bad? Even if people get their news from 1 or 2 sources that are heavily biased, the opposing viewpoints are a click away. Often, they provide links and connect to each other, despite being mortal enemies with irreconcilable differences. (I never heard of Daily Kos until I started reading LGF regularly, for instance.)

      Users get to determine what they read and in what format they read it in. They can even determine how much of which slant they want on the story.

      Without the internet, you would have to search long and far to find opposing viewpoints. You'd have to take what you read at face value or go pay a visit to the library and hope they have recent, relevant material. Either that, or you'd have to subscribe to every magazine and newspaper on earth.
  • depends.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lxy (80823) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:20PM (#11390000) Journal
    For daily news, the internet works well. Check the headlines, check sports scores, movie times, events, etc.

    Where big news breaks, so does the internet. Take a look at the Sept 11 attacks. ALL major news outlets were down. Slashdot stayed up*, but offered limited info. When it came down to it, radio and TV were the only reliable sources. The internet just can't handle demand for broadcast content. Even newspapers were able to get info printed before the internet outlets began to respond again.

    The internet can be used as a news medium, but only when traffic permits.

    * Have you guys ever thought of starting a news consulting service? CNN, Nytimes, USAToday, and most other new outlets can't handle the load. /. deals with that kind of traffic every day. Maybe the brains at /. that keep the site running under constant load could help these sites out. Just a thought.
    • God, yes, I remember September 11th. Only one online news service was still responding by about 10am Eastern. To my utter astonishment, it was AOL.
    • Re:depends.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ktakki (64573)

      Where big news breaks, so does the internet. Take a look at the Sept 11 attacks. ALL major news outlets were down. Slashdot stayed up*, but offered limited info. When it came down to it, radio and TV were the only reliable sources. The internet just can't handle demand for broadcast content. Even newspapers were able to get info printed before the internet outlets began to respond again.

      I was self-employed and working at home back in September 2001, and I did nothing that day but watch the TV news (mostl

  • by Dionysus (12737)
    I think one of the 'problems' of reading online news sources, are that you seek out news that confirms your world view. You also tend out to seek out news that you think might be interesting to you, and missing on a whole lot of other news.

    Take the tsunami for instance. I wasn't watching the news or reading the papers around the time (hadn't started up my newspaper subscription yet). I did seek out the usual online sources, clicking only the links that I thought would be interesting to me. I didn't actu
  • Blogs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FiReaNGeL (312636) <fireang3l&hotmail,com> on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:21PM (#11390005) Homepage
    While blogging, I discovered something.

    My blog is about biology and bioinformatics news. I had the habit of visiting some science news sites... recently, I found the RSS feeds of many press release services. News flash : most "science news" sites just copy/paste press releases. I do the same 50% of the time too, because it gets the point across when the PR is well written. But I do add my opinion / grain of salt when I can, which most science news site don't take the time to do / don't have the expertise necessary to understand. Being a PhD in bioinformatics with a strong biology background sure helps for that; and to filter unrelevant junk science news (there's lots of that, trust me).

    Future of news? If its that easy to get on-par (content-wise) with most of the old-fashioned news source, independant sites like mine, run by expert on a niche topic, might be the future. Blogs are just another medium; it helps publishing fast and easy.
    • But I do add my opinion / grain of salt when I can, which most science news site don't take the time to do / don't have the expertise necessary to understand.

      That is what ruins blogs. There is absolutely no objectivity. While you might try to keep the news as accurate as possible, someone else might just try to spin the news their own way. It leaves the reader not knowing what to believe.
  • by kjones692 (805101) <the.cyborganizer ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:22PM (#11390007)
    The Internet is the penultimate example of a "free market" information system. Literally anyone who has access to a computer (and this can be just about anyone who has the necessary basic skills, thanks to public access from libraries and such) can have their say in a public forum, and have others see what they've said and sometimes respond with their own opinions.

    The obvious advantage of this is that there will always be multiple perspectives on any given subject, from the mainstream to the personal to the radical or absurd. Ideally, this would mean that each person who reads the news online has the ability to weigh various viewpoints, and formulate their own opinion based on these. This can also lead to situations like bloggers bringing down Dan Rather for reports on documents that were falsified. So, in an ideal world, all perspectives would be considered and eventually, the truth would emerge.

    However, the problem arises when all these sources are based on something that is supposedly "common knowledge" but is in fact not true. The best example I can think of offhand is the infamous "I invented the Internet" quote from Al Gore. Even though the transcript of what he actually said is readily available [sethf.com], and those who had a clue figured out what it was that was actually said, the general public accepted that Al Gore said, "I invented the Internet." Even today, most people would agree that Al Gore said that. His opponents and even his supporters said it bolstered his arrogant image, and in an election that was decided by less than a thousand votes, one could argue that it cost him the election. So, even though the truth was accessible, it did not match with what is still today commonly accepted.

    So, the fact is that one can find any perspective on anything through the Internet. The problem is: What happens when all those perspectives are based on some unifying falsehood?
  • by digitalgimpus (468277) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:22PM (#11390014) Homepage
    All I block is popups.

    I love the principle of advertising covering website costs. Why? Because I don't feel like giving out cash to read the news.

    If ads, don't cover enough of the bill, were going to end up with micropayments. Using something like Amazon.com as an intermediary... and you pay perhaps $0.25-0.50 to read an article. IMHO I'd rather not get to that point.

    I don't think banners are such a big deal. I prefer the subtle google ones.

    IMHO the best model uses the following:
    - Banner Ads
    - Subscription service for no ads
    - Micropayments

    Just the other day I started resurrecting MacVillage.net. I did that as well. There banner adsads (I'm considering a subscription service if people want it). And there's the ability to give a micropayment ($1).

    On the bottom of the page is a simple request. If you can spare a dollar, and want to keep the minimalist ad appearance, consider giving a dollar.

    In the past life of the website, it prevented popup ads and such. Hopefully this time it will as well.

    Here's an example [macvillage.net]

    The ads IMHO aren't obtrusive or in the way. There will be one Google text ad in the content area (I'm experimenting with that). But intentionally text so it doesn't stick out to much.

    I like having very few ads. And hopefully enough people like it too... and will help keep it that way.

    I think everyone benefits.
  • by TedTschopp (244839) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:23PM (#11390016) Homepage
    The future of news and the future of computing will be tied up in the idea of Trust. Information will become more valuable the more it is trusted. The question that needs to be asked is how do I trust you and how do you trust me online.

    Which leads to the next question, who do you trust with vouching for yourself online. And realize the answer to the question will be the person who will know you, and not some false or pseudonym. Who do you trust saying you are you, and that you do indeed know what you are talking about regarding the subject you are speaking of.

    I personally don't want any of the following as vouching for me exclusively: The Government, My Bank (or anyone I pay money to to vouch for me). Now do I trust my friends, do I trust my church to vouch for me, and which of those do you trust? Also, what happens when I go from being a citizen of one state to another? Or from one country to another? What happens when I'm trusted by a known non-trusted/enemy organization?

    Granted there are a ton of solutions out there, but nothing which is accepted yet. And each of these solutions have problems.
  • The usual diversity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by G4from128k (686170) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:23PM (#11390024)
    Why does everyone always think that things must converge to some single future state? Regarding ad-blockers, I see three responses.

    First, I'd wager that some sites will rearrange their content to be less pleasant to read with ad-blocking enabled or will create in-line text ads that are much harder to filter. Ad-hating people will stop visiting those sites, but the sites will still attract enough audience to survive. The number of free, ad-supported sites might decline, but will never go to zero.

    Second, if anything, ad-blocking will further entrench the corporate subscription-only sites because it kills the natural migration path for small personal sites. Currently, a growing small site can recoup its bandwidth costs with ads. If that avenue is not open, then small sites must either sell-out to a big corporation or close up shop when the traffic gets too high.

    Third, perhaps one solution is a bittorrent-like version of the WWW for small popular sites. Small sites that cannot afford to have a million or even a thousand daily viewers will submit their content to a bittorrent-like entity.

    In short, technology and trends will mean that there will always be some number of big for-pay news sites (e.g., WSJ); medium-sized ad-supported sites (e.g., /.), and small, free personal news sites (blogs).
  • About adblock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scrameustache (459504) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:25PM (#11390049) Homepage Journal
    Hello webmasters,

    I block your ads when they get in my way.
    Remember the [blink] tag? Why would a flashing graphic be any less annoying?
    If your ads flash, blink, move around, make noise, or freeze my browser for 3 minutes while it loads an in-banner video I do not want to see, I will block your ads.

    Do not bitch, moan, or say "but it's the advertisers that want to annoy you so". Just don't have ads that attempt to FORCE me to watch them. I will go to your site, I will block the ads, I will not feel bad about it. I used to block them my putting hand over the screen, now I have a ready-made plug-in that lets me rest my arm. The more intolerable your ads become, the more drastic our countermeasures become. This didn't have to be an arms race, but since you forced our hand, now we have adblock.

    Sincerly,
    Someone fed up.

    • And stop calling at my house!

      If I wanted to buy your product, I would go out and do so, not wait at home for you to call and offer it to me.
  • Slashdot (Score:3, Funny)

    by onco_p53 (231322) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:26PM (#11390057) Homepage Journal
    Thanks for that informative link to Slashdot [slashdot.org] on the Slashdot [slashdot.org] home page. Now I know how to get to Slashdot [slashdot.org] to read the news.
    • Thanks for that informative link to Slashdot on the Slashdot home page. Now I know how to get to Slashdot to read the news.

      You are just asking for a [redundent] mod : )
  • Adverts (Score:2, Interesting)

    by t_allardyce (48447)
    Advertisers will realise that pop-ups suck and everyone hates them, where as old fashioned banner ads are perfectly fine and few people block them. Systems like salon are also ok if a bit annoying. The general rule is if its too annoying then people will find a way around it or just go somewhere else. Every format has its own optimum advertising style - TV for example is suited to having reasonably spaced breaks - eg 15-30 minutes apart that have mostly interesting adverts that people want to watch. If you
  • Let me just head off all the complaints that inevitably occur whenever it comes out that people like me use ad blockers.

    First, I will continue to use the ad blocker. Nothing you say will convince me otherwise.

    Second, I am in no way obligated, implicitly or explicitly, contractually or morally, to view ads. If you're willing to take this route, you also have to argue that it is/should be illegal/immoral to fast-forward through commercials on the T.V., or to get up and make a sandwich when they come on, o

  • iNews? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sparkydevil (261897)
    It is inevitable that newpapers will move to a subscription model. Online ad revenue is low and there is just too much money involved, and the sources of the information are in the hands of a few news organisations.

    Just like iTunes changed music, one day (quite soon, and just as suddenly) we will see an iNews equivalent giving paid access to multiple news sources. On the other side legal enforcement of their IP by news agencies will be stepped up (just like RIAA). Most newsgathering is in the hands of a fe
  • IMO, the trend will be to split media into groups of isolated echo chambers sorted by political philosophy. With so many new choices for exchanging information, it's no longer necessary for anybody to do the hard work of coming to a general consensus on the issues. It's easier to hang out only with people who share your views and mod each other up. This is probably one of the big factors behind the recent drop in civility in political campaigns and congressional sessions. Nobody needs to spend any time list
  • Duh. The same thing Darwin says about anything else. It will adapt or die out. In the case of newspapers, radio, and TV news that would translate to, how do they embrace the new medium?

    The really interesting question isn't so much how, but which ones embrace it, and how many of them will embrace it embrace it in time, and to what extent?

  • by Doppler00 (534739) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:33PM (#11390115) Homepage Journal
    What happens when the advertisers figure out what's going on with adblock and they start hosting ads that looks like:

    http://cnn.com/saibjkb26234/istc6d23.gif

    If the name of the ad is randomly generated, you would have a hard time blocking just the adds without also resorting to blocking all images at this website. It would be almost impossible to block text based ads.
  • An important question will be what news and information is reliable. That's gone downhill in the last 20 years as the TV news sources compete to have the first "exclusive" info, regardless of whether it's true or not.

    I'd rather pay for access to quality, well researched, and TRUE information than to find some free place that offers "maybe true, but sensational!" information.
  • by KNicolson (147698) on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:40PM (#11390186) Homepage
    Although I get a lot of news through the 'net (both local and from my home country) I also get a real newspaper every day. For me personally, a real paper has long in-depth articles, or even just fuller versions of the same stories.

    The other problem with Internet news - it may just be a problem with people in general, but exacerbated by the 'net - is that it creates tunnel vision, only tuning into the news you want to hear, that backs up your own prejudices. I cringe whenever I see people posting links from places like World Net Daily or Indy Media as if the content within is gospel truth, not heavily spun to the left or right semi-fiction.

    I know of course that traditional print media also has political bias, but the spin is usually appended onto the pure reportage so both can be separated.
  • My masters thesis (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jd (1658) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kapimi>> on Monday January 17, 2005 @06:45PM (#11390233) Homepage Journal
    ...was on producing a viable Internet-based news service. I started from the premise that different people read the same news for different reasons, and that some form of customization was therefore going to be important.


    This was generally backed by the statistics from the server and the results from the questionaire. The ability to cross-reference and thread stories was also useful, but only to those who had become "involved" in a story in progress.


    Based on this work, I'm going to say pretty much what I said when I was doing this work - news carriers will become information repositories. How the user chooses to access that information will become increasingly personal. The ability to cross-reference stories from multiple sources will become increasingly important, as news vendors discover that you don't need both journalists AND editors.


    In consequence, I expect the news system to split into various tiers. First-tier news vendors will have journalists in the field actually gathering news. To some extent, this already happens, but it is likely to become much more severe. Second-tier news vendors will have editors but no journalists. They'll compile news, but not generate any. Again, a lot of vendors already do this (see how many quote AP, Reuters, etc) but they usually still have some news-gathering staff. Third-tier news vendors will have far more commentary than actual hard news.


    It makes no sense, economically, to have multiple companies do essentially identical work on all tiers. Outsourcing is cheap and allows for specialization. Specialization, in turn, can mean fewer competitors in that field, which means the potential for greater profits.


    If my prediction is correct, then I expect different tiers to charge in different ways. The primary news sources would likely charge a small amount (to maximise the customer base) and on a per story fragment basis. The second tier will likely charge a subscription, where the price depends on what features you want. Third-tier commentary sites will likely be free, and will probably be increasingly sponsored by the other news groups.


    Advertising on the Internet is likely to die a death, as more sophisticated blocking techniques are developed, and as distrust over potential spyware scams increases. In consequence, sponsorship in return for increased references is likely to be the preferred model in the future. Doubly so, as search engines adopt the Google method of using references to place sites.

  • Many have said that the Daily Me [wikipedia.org], a personalized newspaper, will be the future of news.

    JD Lasica wrote [jdlasica.com] a particularly good piece on it.
  • If you want to know what the NYTimes printed on a certain date in 1976, you can go to any library in the world and find. out. If you want to know what the NYT.com published last month, you are out of luck. (Let's gloss over their "archives" you pay 2 bucks a pop for. I'm talking about independently verifiable records.)

    On the internet, there is no such thing as "public record". It is near-impossible to establish who said what in the past, even large, venerable institutions such as the NYT, which used to ca

  • Free News? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Sonicated (515345)
    With the uprise of ad blockers, are we going to be able to get our news for free?

    Thanks to the beeb [bbc.co.uk], I will get free news [bbc.co.uk].

  • I just want to mention that ad-blockers only function now because ads are delivered from external servers.

    It would be trivial to alter the delivery method to pass the ads into the host server, and embed them in the requested document. They are simple to block now because the reliy on flash, external ad servers, or popups.
  • by Magickcat (768797) * on Monday January 17, 2005 @10:56PM (#11391996)
    Thanks for the hyperlink to Slashdot [slashdot.org] Cliff. It's funny that I've never come across this site.

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