The NYT just announced that they’re opening up their newsroom to a few tech startups. It’s a fun idea, but also a safe one. If I were starting something I wouldn’t want to put my office in the NYT. That’s a gimmick. Running a startup is noisy and messy and sometimes involves firing people, and major disappointments, and you really want to hide the messy stuff from reporters. Even small companies, real ones, care about the press they get. Which leads me to conclude there aren’t going to be many heavy duty companies in the group they pick.
Then it hit me. The Times could do something not only courageous, but revolutionary for news. Give the space to bloggers. Qualify them the way you’re qualifying the startups. Show us your blog. We’d like to read it. If we think it’s interesting (and don’t go for safety) and there’s a reason it could benefit from locating both in midtown and/or the NYT offices, and we think the work you do would be stimulating for us, here’s some space for six months.
They will never do it, but if they did, with their hearts in it, the NYT and news in general, would change much faster than it is changing. In my opinion, for the better. They won’t do it because it’s competition and they’re scared they’ll end up doing what bloggers do. But the sooner they do more of what bloggers do the sooner they can get on with it. That means not worrying what their sources think of them, and report the news like real people instead of people in an ivory tower. Get out there and do it. And if you aren’t doing it, then bring it in.