The debate about the future of journalism is heating up again. Much has been written about DemandMedia and AOL's Seed initiative, which farm out content creation to a stable of writers who are willing to create articles for small amounts on money. Today, there is more discussion about the future of Forbes.com. See this post from TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2010/06/14/vox-populi-vox-forbes/
TechCrunch has noted that Forbes will be soliciting articles from "1000s of unpaid contributors" in a move similar to those I mentioned above. This would make the Forbes editors "curators of talent."
While content creation has become commoditized to a large extent, there is still a place for great journalism. The media are pressured more so than ever to get news stories out as quickly as possible, 24x7. Yet, we still find reporters who are fair and honest, even when they are writing stories that we, as PR people, might rather not see. I will take a negative story as long as it is true and fair.
I believe that there is a place for mass-produced content to coexist with good reporting. Consumers more than ever are scouring the Web for information about things ranging from the news about the BP oil spill, to how to grow the perfect rose garden. We don't need the same standards for both of these articles.
However, we do need the accountability and dedication to seeking the truth that we find in serious reporting, which still accounts for a huge chunk of the information consumers find online. We need to be able to trust our news sources. I join Meg in her recent post about her willingness to pay for the NY Times content. Sign me up!