2006: The Tipping Point

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The holiday vacation over, I’m back at the office and ready for 2006. If you’re one of the many people whom I owe e-mails (notably my online news colleague Stewart Kirkpatrick), forgive me, I’ll be corresponding later today.

This will be a pivotal year for the news industry. The tipping point has been reached. Most news broadcasts and printed newspapers and news magazines finally realize that they are, if not yet dying, then dinosaurs in the tar pit. Meanwhile, the many upstarts who hope to replace those dinosaurs will this year be realizing that their solutions (such as just ‘citizen journalism’) are neither as functional or appropriate as they think. Stay tuned for an exciting year.

Plus, for what it’s worth, I’m pleased to be entering my 27th year in the news industry. I started as a reporter covering cops, fires, and courts for a small daily newspaper in Connecticut. Later, I worked for the old UPI, Reuters, and News Corp. My thanks to Prof. Ben Compaine who at the start of the 1980s interested me in the potential of new media and to venture capitalist Jon Gilbert who in 1993 brought me into new media full-time. I’ve never regretted that move.

(I don’t think the Connecticut State Police really minded that I didn’t return my police pass after 1979 ended. Indeed, I felt it odd being nearly invulnerable to speeding and other motor vehicle infractions during those years. The police departments of many towns and state police barracks knew my auto and wouldn’t stop it in speed traps. Only once was I pulled over, when I was late for work and driving 85 m.p.h. on a 45 m.p.h. rural road. The officer, rather than asking me for my driver’s license and vehicle registration, said , “Has anyone told you the problem we in the police union are having with management?” and gave me a story. Oh, to be a police reporter again!)

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