The flash movie that shocked America
2014 - BREAKING NEWS:
The New York Times has become a print newsletter for
the elite and the elderly. 8 minutes about the end of
the news media as we knew it in the 20 Century
«The point of our movie, if
anything, is to show that tools like Google & Amazon
could, in the not-too-distant future, make an end-run
around traditional news organizations, leaving them
without much of an audience»
An interview with
Robin Sloan, the
movie author, by Jorge
Nascimento Rodrigues, editor of Gurusonline, February
America was shocked. An eight-minute flash movie produced
for the Web predict that the year 2014 will be the end
of the Fourth Estate as we knew it. Two online reporters
wrote the argument for the Poynter Institute & News
University in Tampa Bay, in Florida. The movie got quite
surprising a meteoric popularity around the web. Robin
Sloan and Matt Thompson argue that the 1989 invention
of the World Wide Web opened a new era, with music of
Aaron McLeran. The sons of Tim Berners-Lee creation
in the last 15 years - Amazon.com, Yahoo!, Google, TiVo,
the blog revolution, and various other web-related innovations
- will end the news media business as we knew it in
the 20 Century. Sloan and Thompson talk about a new
kind of media platform - EPIC, that goes for Evolving
Personalized Information Construct. The main thesis:
the change of the centre of gravity of where common
people get their news.
Robin Sloan talked with Gurusonline.tv about the movie.
Robin now works at IndTV.tv, a cable company of San
Francisco, California, founded by Al Gore. Robin is
a graduate in economics from Michigan Sate University.
He worked for Poynter as an "online" reporter.
See the movie here
Do you think Google's IPO was the turning point
in this decade since Netscape's IPO, or even in the
last 15 years since the World Wide Web?
No, it wasn't necessarily "the turning point";
but it was a pretty big shift for Google, and I'm sure
it will accelerate their plans, whatever they are.
The print media incumbent groups born in the 19
Century and until the 1970's and 1980's of the 20 Century
are aware of the emergence of the role of the new popular
aggregators like Google, Amazon or even Microsoft?
They are, but I don't think they necessarily see them
as a challenge to their role. The point of our movie,
if anything, is to show that tools like Google &
Amazon could, in the not-too-distant future, make an
end-run around traditional news organizations, leaving
them without much of an audience.
We are used to think that knowledge distribution
was something that only the traditional printed media
(since the 1990's with its web "extensions")
were able to do. Do you think that the rules of the
knowledge game changed like with Gutenberg in his times?
Oh yeah, definitely. DEFINITELY. We've gotten used
to the power of the Internet now; but if you stop and
think about what you're able to do -- the information
you're able to summon up, the way you're able to share
stuff -- it's really mind-boggling. I mean, EPIC itself
is a great example: It's this little computer file created
by two young guys, totally unknown, but thanks to the
power of the internet -- and nothing else -- hundreds
of thousands, maybe millions, of people have seen it.
How you evaluate the role of the blog movement?
Do you think blogs can define a new type of journalism,
or it is mainly a teens' artefact for intimate and personal
Definitely not just a teens' artefact, although the
fact that teens have glommed on to blogging should give
us some clues about what the future will be like. Blogs
don't necessarily "define" a new kind of journalism;
they can certainly contain it, though. But a traditional
news organization could just as easily do journalism
that way -- quickly, open, responsive, transparent.
(Although I guess if they did they probably wouldn't
be a "traditional" organization anymore...)
«It's a no-brainer than one
day -- not that far in the future -- you'll go to the
web for real-time video from the big news event happening
across the world. Absolutely.»
How you evaluate the role of TV, more and more a
global just in time news media with a huge power of
image? Do you think the web-based reports can surpass
the TV impact?
Not yet, but soon, as video becomes more of a normal
thing on the web. It'll happen more and more in the
next couple of years. It's a no-brainer than one day
-- not that far in the future -- you'll go to the web
for real-time video from the big news event happening
across the world. Absolutely.
Do you expect a wave of consolidation in the new
emergent actors? "Googlezon" (the fictional
merger of Google and Amazon in 2008) is a pure fable
or the definition of a trend?
Googlezon's just a fable. I think there are other centers
of gravity besides Google -- Yahoo! and MSN are both
still players, and Amazon really do have some great
ideas -- and you only need two or three really strong
players to create healthy competition. Regardless of
what WILL happen, I certainly HOPE we don't see massive
consolidation as depicted in EPIC. I think that would
be a terrible thing.
The image of the NYT becomes a print newsletter
for the elite and the elderly is also a definition of
Again, more of a fable. The New York Times is just
such a good avatar for, you know, the ENTIRE news business.
But in fact, in all honesty, the NYT is doing a really
nice job with Internet stuff -- some of the best work
of any old-school org, in fact -- and I expect them
to continue it & be successful.
«I actually think EPIC will
help, by making a space for more voices to pipe up and
say, "Hey, that's manipulated! That's sponsored!"
-- as, in fact, we have already seen, with the CBS forged
documents story and others.»
EPIC brings a new risk of manipulated information?
Or also a wave of "sponsored" information?
The traditional deontology of journalism developed in
the last 200-250 years will gone?
Well, I don't think manipulated information or sponsored
information will be a new thing. We've always had those
in the news and media, and of course will continue to
have them. I actually think EPIC will help, by making
a space for more voices to pipe up and say, "Hey,
that's manipulated! That's sponsored!" -- as, in
fact, we have already seen, with the CBS forged documents
story and others.
Do you think the center of gravity where people
get their news has already changed with the broadband
Certainly it's begun to shift, but most people still
get their news -- if they get it at all -- from TV.
It'll take a while for that to change. But I think it
will change, and broadband & wireless will
What will be the impact for the news business model,
mainly for advertising?
Still LOTS of opportunities to advertise in the EPIC
future. In fact I think the opportunities get better
and better. It'll require some new technologies &
new ways of thinking about ads, though -- and so far
Google seems to have done a LOT better job with those
two things than ANY old-school media org.
© Gurusonline.tv, 2005