Thursday, September 10, 2009

Debunking the Myths of Free

Towards the end of the book, Anderson tries to debunk some myths or doubts of the free concept. I think he does a great job, except for the last one regarding Free driving out professionals in favor of amateurs.

But out of the bloodbath will come a new role for professional journalists. There may be more of them, not fewer, as the ability to participate in journalism extends beyond the credentialed halls of traditional media. But they may be paid far less, and for many it won't be a full-time job at all. Journalism as a profession will share the stage with journalism as an avocation. Meanwhile, others may use their skills to teach and organize amateurs to do a better job covering their own communities, becoming more editor/coach than writer. If so, leveraging the Free - paying people to get other people to write for nonmonetary rewards - may not be the enemy of professional journalist. Instead, it may be their salvation.

I actually agree with the first half of what he says. And as a publisher, I should defer to his experience. But I have a hard time believing that professional journalists will want to make their living off trying to organize amateurs, who aren't being paid, to put together a product that they can sell. Isn't that what associations are for?

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