There was a time when breaking news only came from radio, newspapers and TV. Then the Internet arrived and it became immediate. Mobile phones and Twitter apps introduced us to big news events reported in seconds from virtually anywhere.
News is free. It may be ad-supported but the horse has left the barn when it comes to making money on news. Breaking news (the best kind) is no longer appointment-driven. It hits us in real-time over the closest device. Technology has made news 1s and 0s. It’s information. And free.
Analysis, on the other hand, is where the money is. A well turned, well contextualized story, is worth paying for. Hearing Steven Colbert’s fun spin on something is worth an appointment. Reading Thomas Friedman’s analysis of Obama’s Cairo speech is not like hearing about it from your neighbor (not that there’s anything wrong with neighbors).
As the news reporting business evolves and changes thanks to the Internet, I think we will begin to see two forms: generic, aggregated news (free) and in-depth, bi-lined, star-value analysis (paid).
Content is still king and as we mix the great content in with the chaff — and offer it for free — it loses value.