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Published February 9, 2017

The agreement believes that editors and reporters need to enter into deep, if not continuous, contact with readers via social media, specifically Twitter and facebook. The agreement favors iterative journalism reporting on the fly, repairing errors along the way versus traditional methods of story copy editing, organization, and fact-checking; it favors spontaneity and informality over official design and narrative kinds.

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FON thinkers advanced the idea of news as a commodity, describing it variously as plentiful, undifferentiated, and of low value. As an effect, FON thinking assumes, it won’t ever command much of anything in a market where the costs of circulation are basically zero.

Is this a remedy? No, Shirky’s right. There isn’t really one. Lee shares trade for under a dollar. But as numerous, including Shirky himself somewhere else, have mentioned, news isn’t a commodity, however a public excellent. Something that benefits everybody and, in the economic sense, something whose worth doesn’t diminish no matter the number of individuals use it (and whether they spend for it or not). Framing the news as a product and ultra-abundant makes it much easier to distribute. It also suggests a lack of understanding of what it takes to produce excellent beat reporting, not to mention accountability journalism.

You blew it. So now, for much of you, there isn’t time. It’s just far too late. The very best thing a few of you can do is get out of the way and include the next generation of net natives who understand this new economy and society and care about news and will reinvent it, building what follows you from the ground up. There’s big chance there, for them.

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