Saturday, September 7th, 2002
I’m fascinated by “thin media” — news sites staffed by 0.25 to 1.5 writers.
Matt Drudge was the first thin media mogul. He eschewed reporting and sought to distill, popularize, accelerate and aggregate other sites’ stories.
Drudge was expected to ride Clinton’s coattails into obscurity. Instead, he’s stronger than ever and has spawned 100s of other thin media link-peddlers, each finding a progressively tighter niche to itch.
Cougars in South Wales, animal sacrifice rituals, an orange orb, Berkeley weirdos… Weird Files is a fascinating front for Ken Layne’s print syndication business. Gizmodo‘s doing its thing with million-color printers, combadges, camera phones, portable hard drives for photogs and 1cm thick mini-disk players. Romenesko’s MediaNews links a FOIA about FOIAs, Bradlee on Neuharth, and Trudeau on Doonesbury. Rough & Tumble links Orange County crime, Davis signs law against burglary tool, and Santa Cruz officials fume over medical pot club bust. And ScienceBlog touts Dust-sized chips, electronic cars, and synthetic diamond film.
Although all are blogs, each eschews personal anecdote, agenda or banter and sticks to the new.
Style books differ. Rough & Tumble knocks out one to four straight sentences. Gizmodo holds the line at two sentences, with an occasional Economistic twist. ScienceBlog and WeirdFiles introduce adjectives and storytelling. MediaNews adds quotations and reax. Meanwhile, Drudge cooks on with his griddle of hot headlines.
My favorite style would mix them all depending on post and then occasionally add some well-flagged editorializing. I can’t think of anyone publishing in just that style, actually.
Editorializing: Why is it worth writing about thin media at 5.50 AM EST? Because there will be 100s of thousands more of these things in just a couple years. The sooner the model is perfected, the sooner it can MIRV. And (cue commercial) Blogads [url=http://www.blogads.com:8080/BlogadzPreview2/order_html]classifieds will power their cash registers.
(In theory, other layers of thin media should materialize as traditional publishing constructs dematerialize, right? BlogCMS is already well-populated. Sekimori is carving out a design reputation. Nothing Special and Hostmatters have nice hosting practices. Sitemeter and Extreme Tracking keep score. Will ambitious bloggers ever hire elite editors to probe for excellence? Itinerant blog copy editors? What else are we missing?)