Last week El Nuevo Dia announced that they would be closing the El Nuevo Dia Orlando satellite edition on August 29th. Citing difficulties from poor ad sales due to the economic slowdown, the newspaper was Central Florida's only Spanish-language daily. The closing will impact 49 employees which will be conducting layoffs through November.
Until last week, I thought of news like this as merely reality catching up with the growing impact of the Internet. Sure, many people agree, with tongue in cheek, that the Internet changes everything, but I guess it depends on where your standing. I bet if you ask the employees of El Nuevo Dia Orlando, maybe some would recognize the impact of the Internet on their situation, and others would just say it's the economy. I'd wager it's a little bit of both.
I'm now looking at the newspaper crisis in a little different light. Browsing through Borders last Friday I came across "the cult of the amateur" by Andrew Keen. I read the introduction and the first chapter just to see what Keen had to say. While I think he goes astray in blaming the failing record and film industries on illegal downloads, his opinion on amateur content is thought provoking.
Keen claims that a sea of amateur content threatens to swamp the most vital information and how blogs often reinforce one's own views rather than expand horizons. In addition, he blames amateurs for the contracting journalism industry. While he points to Wikipedia as a perfect example, I think he's wrong about the volunteer encyclopia. I'm not sure he did the proper research into Wikipedia to understand the safeguards they have in place to weed out crap quickly. Keen points out,
What the Web 2.0 revolution is really delivering is superficial observations of the world around us rather than deep analysis, shrill opinion rather than considered judgment. The information business is being transformed by the Internet into the sheer noise of a hundred million bloggers all simultaneously talking about themselves.
Why the change of heart? Well, to be honest, after the beating I took last week, my confidence is a little shaken. With that token of doubt, I guess I gave Keen's arguments a chance, and to my surprise, some of them made sense. Keen claims,
...the radically new business models based on user-generated material suck the economic value out of traditional media and cultural content.So I wonder, is Keen right? Is the explosion of crappy blogs and video on the Internet responsible for El Nuevo Dia closing the Orlando edition?
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