Jay: “It brings into the equation all the problems of being part of the community you are reporting on… We’re not trying to create here a replicable site that you could pick up and plop down somewhere.”
Turns out Dave used to hang out in the East Village, including the Fillmore East: “The community is the persistent part; the students come and go.” The historical and cultural significance of the East Village is what makes this an especially interesting project. “Much like parts of California today are cultural leaders, the East Village was at one time at the center of American culture.” And it will be again.
Dave: first question I got about this announcement was… what about the New York Times paywall? Will the new site be behind the wall?
Jay: “I’ve made my feelings known and we at NYU have made our feelings known to the New York Times– that we believe this site definitely deserves to be outside the paywall.” There are compelling reasons why we say that; but the Times isn’t ready to decide the matter yet.
Dave: The idea of charging for access to stuff the community is doing for free is a non-starter.
Jay: Well, we’re hoping to pay for at least a portion of the material we draw from the community.
Dave: What’s the number one goal?
Jay: To become an essential news source for people in the East Village.
Dave: “I would think it might be an educational goal.”
Jay: That’s important but it follows from engagement with the community.
Dave: Internet access for different neighborhoods in New York would be an excellent investigation for The Local: East Village. Verizon won’t show you the map of where its super fast Fios service is available. The access I have in my building is phenomenal coming down, but not as good going up. That’s asymmetric service.
Jay: A feature of the rebooted system of news should be: “upload speeds are as fast as download speeds.”
Audience atomization overcome, Jays calls it: “For journalism what this means is that the horizontal sharing networks are as significant as the vertical synthesizing of information, and the future of journalism is in these hybrid forms.”
So let’s find out! “Where in the East Village can you actually get Fios and what’s actually available block by block.” It’s a distributed reporting project, and since audience atomization has been overcome, it’s now possible to pull it off. “The real power is when we can combine these horizontal sharing networks and aggregated data with reporters checking it out.”
Jay’s dream project in distributed reporting: what if we were able to take the 50 top selling pharmaceuticals in the world and fine out what they cost, what the benefits are said to be, and how they are marketed in every country in the world? In the age of mass media, impossible. But today: not impossible at all.
Dave: where the money is in news. With all of these projects we may be able to locate the elusive business model for journalism. “The principle of making money of the Internet is to find where the cash is flowing and facilitate that. Create a place that facilitates the flow of cash and that’s a place where you can put a business model.” Internet access may be one, but you need to assemble good information.
Jay: In news, it’s not only “where’s the money going to come from?” but also: how do we take advantage of lower costs?
Dave: It’s like Mark Andreessen says: burn the boats. When the quarterback gets the ball, he always drops back a few yards to buy himself some time to look around. In the news industry they’re not willing to do that. “We’ve got these phenomenal networks that make news work so much better than before, what a wonderful time to be in the news business.”
Dave: Real time search, which is here, isn’t as valuable as it once sounded.
Jay: Facebook is driving more traffic these days.
Dave: They’re getting a lot of ideas from the FriendFeed guys they acquired.
Here’s the show; we hope you enjoy it.