Nicholas Carr has an interesting piece on Nieman Reports discussing the speed of news consumption online and the impact on journalism.
According to Carr, “skimming” of news is a threat to serious journalism, which requires “deep, undistracted modes of reading and thinking”.
On the web, skimming is no longer a means to an end but an end in itself. That poses a huge problem for those who report and publish the news. To appreciate variations in the quality of journalism, a person has to be attentive, to be able to read and think deeply. To the skimmer, all stories look the same and are worth the same.
The practice turns news into a “fungible commodity”, he writes, where the lowest-cost provider “wins the day”.
The news organization committed to quality becomes a niche player, fated to watch its niche continue to shrink. If serious journalism is going to survive as something more than a product for a small and shrinking elite, news organizations will need to do more than simply adapt to the net. They’re going to have to be a counterweight to the net.