It’s still Sources Go Direct


Posted on: March 16, 2019

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Last time I spoke to the news industry in the US, blogging was booming, there was no Twitter, and podcasting was still very much in bootstrap mode. So I'm thinking that what I propose now, while it's basically the same idea as I was promoting then, that we, the sources, the editors, and independent developers (not the big tech companies), work together to create a great open news publishing system (the basic vision of RSS, btw) might go over better than it did then.

Back then, in the mid 00s, I guess they thought I was dreaming, it was unrealistic, or whatever, but now all that I was pitching has happened. It really happened. We have a SGD president. And Congress more and more is made of SGDers. But it's not happening in an open way, from my point of view because the news people won't listen, so things are faltering like crazy. Facebook, formed out of the DNA of Silicon Valley, has way too much power. News is shaped to suit their business interests, and not surprisingly this has choked off the air supply for the news business. That's how dominant tech companies work. I know this because before news collided with Big Tech, I was a developer in the ecosystems of several huge tech companies. My career appeared to be over at age 37 because there was no way out of the tight boxes they had created for us, poorly designed boxes, like networking on the Mac, for example. Able to do so much but so crippled through its API that developers couldn't access its power.

I struggled against it, and lost. But then the web came along, and boom, we were growing again. I was sure then and am equally sure now that the news industry will meet the same fate as MS-DOS devs, Mac OS devs and then Netscape et al. There is an economic math at work here, and being in denial of it doesn't change it. (These were among the very first pieces I wrote when my blog started up in October 1994.)

I don't expect to be liked for saying all this, but I'll try to smile "smile" and be affable, and maybe a few people will listen and see (as I believe) that sources and news people working together, without the big tech companies, is the only way out of the mess.

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