Buzzmachine blogger and What Would Google do? author, Jeff Jarvis, initiated a discussion recently about newspapers handing over non-journalism work to an outside source. Focus on what your good at, Jarvis has said, which led Bob Wyman, a founder of Pubsub, to suggest that newspapers should not be creating technology. Wyman said:
Your IT infrastructure is a COST of doing business. It is not a thing of value.
newspapers invest in their web sites out of vanity and from an
inability to get their heads out of the geographically defined markets
of the past. They have a “local paper” so they assume they need a
“local site.” Bull. Developing and maintaining a web site is expensive
and reduces the funds available to support the journalism and community
building. All but the largest papers should be sharing their websites,
computer technology, etc. If you think you need SQL and HTML people on
full-time staff, then you’re probably not understanding what it will
take it succeed in the future.
In response to a question about Google providing this service to paper’s in the future, he added:
Frankly, I think that would make a great deal of sense. Heck, an online
paper isn’t much more than a complicated Blogger.com…The idea would be to have each
“newsroom” focus on whatever it does best and then link them all
together into a larger whole which is greater than the sum of the
parts… It just doesn’t make
sense for hundreds or thousands of newspapers to try to craft their own
versions of all this stuff….The point is that someone should provide a technology platform that
serves as the “paper” for the new journalism and takes the “web site”
expense line out of journalism’s budget. The web should be where a
newsroom makes money — not where it spends it! …So, while we might have once needed one press for each newsroom, today, we can serve them all with one or a few web sites.
As a conept, Jarvis agrees. he concludes:
Newspapers should concentrate on what the are supposed to do and stop trying to differentiate themselves with technology.