Friday, September 18, 2009

Godzilla vs. The Aggregator

“Is it true Jim Balsillie has decided to move the Coyotes back to their hometown as the Winnipeg Jets?”
“No, but thanks for your call.”

It sticks in my craw when people phone our newsroom and use us as glorified Yellow Pages, especially when they’re trying to reach rival media outlets. But I do love it when they call to confirm or dispel rumours.

The point is they’re coming to us first. I do the same. I have my favourites for national news. I like the Globe and Mail and Ottawa Citizen websites. For sports, I like TSN. I like going to one or two websites to get what I want instead of going to dozens of sites for the same information.

We’re news aggregators. We gather information from different sources and distribute it from one site. One-stop shopping. Online newspapers still have a purpose, and we need to embrace our century-plus existence instead of distancing ourselves in the pursuit of online relevance.

There are aggregators out there for a niche audience. Sphinn caters to marketing news. BallHype pitches for sports. Yardbarker posts information from the athletes themselves as well as readers. Slashdot promotes itself as a bunch of nerds willing to take your questions.

I’m more than happy to be the go-to-guy for accurate news and information. In a twisted sort of way, the Internet might keep newspapers in business because we’re needed to cut through the online chaff to find a grain of truth.

The Hyper Journalist


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