It’s really great news that Pierre Omidyar is getting behind Greenwald et al in their new journalism venture. That, and Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post should provide new creative stimulus for the rest of the journalism industry.
If I were in either of their shoes, I’d look at why Twitter has been so effective as a distributor of news, and then take a step back and imagine a few years from now what an even-better-Twitter might look like. I think for smart tech guys like Omidyar and Bezos this should be pretty easy.
But what about everyone else? 🙂
Being a medium-size web-only news organization (or web/mobile, more likely) will have advantages over either of the other two. Bezos bought a full-featured already booted-up print/web publication and Omidyar is starting from scratch.
What if you’re in-between those two? I would go affiliate. Build a better aggregator for your staff, a river of news, more highly concentrated than Twitter, and then share it with your readers. Let them add feeds to the flow. And then build new functionality around these relationships. It’s something Twitter is doing, but slowly — and they will only do one possible set of relationships. There will also be value in being not-Twitter as well.
The trick is to have a great farm system, and use that to boot up something bigger than what Bezos has, before he can.
Key idea: News orgs not only have expertise at creating news, they are great at consuming it too. Use that to help define the news reading experience of the future.
BTW, Jay Rosen has the best summary of what Omidyar is up to, based on a phone conversation they had. Jay is also in a great position to understand what the opportunities are.