This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
See Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE and get his new book Get Rich Carefully! Learn More

The Internet Returns Journalism to the 19th Century

It doesn't any more.

Om Malik started GigaOm as a blog about networking. Michael Arrington launched TechCrunch as a blog about Silicon Valley. Nick Denton of Gawker Media started all his "publications" as blogs, including Gizmodo, a gadget blog.

All these grew into full-fledged tech news sites, each with their own unique point of view, and a personality driving them. They were far from alone. Across the Internet individual journalists took their passions, launched small blogs, then scaled them the way great chefs scale their recipes into restaurants, and then restaurant chains.

Cnet is suffering the "death of 1,000 cuts." The suits in New York don't notice any one cut, they barely take notice when top staffers depart, but not all big companies are ignoring the new, personality-driven reality. News Corp.'s (NWS)Wall Street Journal wisely put its own tech news site, AllthingsD, in front of the paywall, and staffed it with strong personalities like Kara Swisher, Ina Fried and Walter Mossberg, gradually scaling out with other writers to build, within a very short time, a news hole that rivals Cnet's own.

In 2012 journalism is an entrepreneurial business, just as it was in the 1850s. It depends on strong personalities, on writers who become editors, then publishers, but who retain their focus. Readers follow them, engineers build communities around them, the traffic builds, the ads come in, and almost before you know it the world has changed.

Because the Internet is a business that's so easy to get into, and because clouds let Web sites scale quickly to enormous size, this rapid evolution will continue. It may take years for journalism to become again what it was when I joined it, a collection of institutions, the profession defined by "working for someone who buys ink by the barrel," (or bandwidth by the gigabit). It may take decades.

I mentioned at the start of Friday's column that I had a bet with my Medill professors, 35 years ago. I thought the online world would cause journalism to grow, they thought it would make their world collapse. In some ways we both were right, but I truly believe I won the bet.

At the time of publication, the author had no investments in companies mentioned in this article. .

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Stock quotes in this article: CBS, NWS 

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
DOW 16,493.02 -8.63 -0.05%
S&P 500 1,870.69 -4.70 -0.25%
NASDAQ 4,108.3730 -18.5940 -0.45%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs