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Reuters and Media Nirvana

Some interesting reactions to Reuters CEO Tom Glocer’s speech at
the Online Publishers Association. I thought it was encouraging news and in my previous post I
(somewhat breathlessly) compared it to Associated Press CEO Tom Curley’s similar speech a
year ago. Upon further reflection, it’s not quite at the level of Curley’s speech. Eran
Globen brought me back down to earth with his

Although according to
Lucas Gonze
, it seems Reuters is actually walking the talk – compared to its rival AP. According to Lucas
quoting MediaShift:

“AP member sites will offer free streaming video of about 40 clips per day, but with a
catch: The new AP Online Video Network is powered by Microsofts MSN Video, meaning you
must use the Microsoft browser, Internet Explorer (IE), to view it online.”

While a majority of the Internet population uses IE, the AP’s business arrangement
with Microsoft means that a good proportion of users won’t be able to view AP videos –
Apple/Safari users, or Firefox folks (like me). However AP’s arch rival Reuters will
“pick up the viewers AP is alienating”, because it’s made a deal with Internet video
company Brightcove that will enable news sites and blogs to provide video via a player
that will work on all browsers. 

That’s the kind of open Web solution which makes me think that Reuters has its head on
straight with relation to Web media. Now… as Scott Karp pointed out, there’s nothing
especially revolutionary in Reuters boss Tom Glocer’s speech. Nevertheless it’s
good to see companies like Reuters talking the talk – and walking it too. I’d like to
address some of Scott’s other points. He wrote:

 “Tom Glocer has fooled 2.0 advocates like Jeff Jarvis into thinking he’s
drunk the Koolaid, but the truth is, he hasn’t. This is Media 1.1 at best, and it
still represents a formlua for perpetuating the entrenchment of Old Media at the center
(which 2.0ers like Pete Cashmore accuse me of doing).

Firstly I’d politely suggest that Scott lay off the Koolaid :-), because all the
version numbers in that statement obscure its real point: that Scott thinks Tom Glocer’s
speech is still all about “Old Media” controlling the media space.

Let’s look at that… Glocer’s speech talked about media companies being “seeders of
clouds” (a somewhat nebulous phrase), a provider of tools, supporter of open standards
and interoperability, and provider of filtering and editing. All of this encourages users
to contribute and create content, but it’s the filtering and editing where I think big
media can best provide value. By filtering, I think of news tracker apps like memeorandum
and Megite. Ever since Memeorandum arrived on the scene in a big way last September, I’ve said that it
belongs in a media company (such as Reuters).

And by editing, I hope Reuters means using their journalistic resources and prowess to
aggregate, add to and enhance the vast amount of ‘user-generated’ information being produced in this
era – and edit it into quality news content. It’s one of the areas where I see companies
like Reuters, AP (and Yahoo) adding value in this new world. 

Of course Reuters’ huge staff of writers and journalists will still produce the
majority of its content – skill and experience will always count for a great deal. But I
think a lot of their ‘raw material’ will come from the Web, what we’re calling
‘user-generated content’. A lot of the amateurs will also rise to be professionals
too. So old media and new media and users will all hopefully intermingle and

Now, does that all mean that ‘old media’ is at the center of it still? I don’t think
so, because if anything it puts everybody in the same ‘pool’ of content and information –
which gets filtered and edited (yes, the latter by humans at Reuters and the like…).
Put another way: Reuters has a big part to play in this, but they won’t be at the center
of news media – they’ll be aggregating, filtering and editing at ‘the edge’.

Overall though I think Scott and I basically agree, because his summary here is
basically my belief too:

“Media 2.0 is about creating an efficient marketplace for content that enables media
consumers to find the highest-yield content from an ever increasing diversity of sources
AND enabling content creators to efficiently collaborate.”

I think Reuters is on the right path with Glocer’s speech. Sure they haven’t reached
Media 2.0 Nirvana yet, as described above by Scott. But then who has? Currently it’s
enough for me that Reuters has joined the revolution evolution.

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