Alright… sorry about the long absence from the blog, guys. I’ve had my head in code for about the last two weeks. In defense of my lateness this week, I calculated that I’ve logged over 100 hours in the last five days getting the last bits of BlipMedia put together. As a result, by end of business tomorrow (today, I suppose. If I really wanted to end the ambiguity, I’d say Friday, May 20th).
Better late than never, I always say.
First of all, I want to apologise to all of my friends, family, users, podcast and radioshow listeners, as well as acquaintences that I’ve blown off this month. I’ve blown off a lot of you for this project, but this is one of my big things, and if you know me at all, you know when I really believe in something, I put everything I have into it until I’m done. As a result, we at BlipMedia have something we’re proud to launch with (I think :-). If you click on the Blip link over there on the side and check it out, I’d be mighty grateful.
So I’m writing this article to say that my official hiding from the public will be over by Friday next week. I’ve still a few bugs to work out of the system so we can put online a few extra features I was looking to include in the initial launch, but will soon follow.
Why BlipMedia, though? Well, this company is launched with two real goals in mind. One of these goals has my idealism about New Media smeared all over it, and the other reflects the business interests of some of the more level headed partners. Firstly, we’re here to become a community for the independent media, a well produced showcase for the best the bloggers and the podcasters have to offer. We’re here to provide tools that make disseminating their information more easily. We’re here to topple the Old Media. Secondly, we’re here to put a viable business model in place to support it (and along with that, make a couple dollars in the process).
The Media Side
I’m sure you’re all aware of the Newsweek thing. Editor of Newsweek Mark Whitaker expressed what’s being called “regret” over an item which appeared in it’s “Periscope” section, saying it was based on a confidential source. They are now unsure of the story’s truthfulness, according to Whitaker. The article’s misquote triggered several days of rioting in Afghanistan and many other countries, ultimately resulting in at least 15 deaths.
I don’t have to say much regarding this, as other bloggers have understandably pounced on this story. Fox news, of course, was first to associate this with the New Media/Old Media debate last night on Bill O’Reilly’s show, I believe, because Fox thinks itself New Media. Truth is, Fox itself is Old Media as the rest of them. Old Media is built upon the assumption that News, Entertainment, and Information content is simply the hook to bring the product to the table (with the product being the viewership). This ensures that integrity of information is not the first priority, the enticement factor is. If you approach the News Corporation as an advertiser, they will be honest and tell you that Fox News Channel is not a news channel, but an entertainment channel. That is the secret to their success, not “Fair and Balanced.”
The New York Times’ Jayson Blair, The New York Times’ Paul McGeough, The New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson, Harpers’ Magazine, The New Republic’s Stephen Glass, CBS’s Dan Rather and Marla Mapes, The Boston Globe, ABC’s Mark Halperin, The LA Time’s Roberr Scheer, The Detroit Free Press’s Mitch Albom, and several others all show that the Old Media is busting at the seams with inaccuracies and blatant lies. The New Media keeps pegging the inaccuracies and exposing them, showing all the inherent flaws in their system. As Darrell briefly outlined in his article this week, the New Media is by it’s very nature immune to these kinds of inaccuracies due to it’s a participatory medium, not a one way communication (which is by it’s very definition an oxymoron).
The Business Side
What makes us different? To make a media organisation profitable, you must make trades on your integrity. You can either sell them to the highest bidder, you can sell them to the consumer of the news, or you can subsidize the effort either through volunteer work or actual capital. I’ve just explained the pitfalls of selling them to the highest bidder, and selling content to the info-consumer is a business model that has failed for years on the internet. The only lasting New Media news organisations on the internet seem to be grassroots in nature (RantRadio, Indymedia, GNN, etc).
When I took a look at what it would take to create a news organisation with these principals in mind, and with the added requirement of staying power, I was reminded of a quote who’s source escapes me currently, but went something like “corporations are mankinds attempt at immortality.” This is true, in a way. Corporations, in a legal sense, have almost all the rights as a normal human, but without that pesky lifespan issue. Theoretically, a well engineered corporation can outlive several generations of human beings (many, in fact, do. AT&T, and all the Baby Bells and Bell spinoffs have long outlasted Alexander Graham Bell’s lifespan, much less his generation). Therefore by this line of thinking, a well engineered, principled media company could outlast all of it’s contemporaries and predecessors. It was with this line of thinking I came up with the subsization route.
Over the next few weeks, I will be laying out the goods, services, and profit models for BlipMedia, as well as pitching a few products at you, dear readers, to see if I can’t convince you my line of thinking is correct. In the mean time, explore the new BlipMedia pages, let’s build this media revolution together.