Who pays for local journalism – we do?

You may have felt a little schadenfreude when you read the $Billion reduction in the value of Facebook. Not unlike the 2008 crash, this money has gone to money heaven, and will probably never reappear.

However, something else is also dying as the Facebook and Google scorched earth policy rips the heart out of the paid-for newspaper advertising revenue. It’s journalism, as the business model of newspapers comes under threat, the newsroom can no longer afford a full roster of journalists.

The effect is both National and Local, but the local impact is much more significant as there is no one else to scrutinise local political and public services.

In New Jersey, the state’s lawmakers will begin to  fund community journalism, and this will include for-profit as well as non-profit groups.

I sadly can’t see this coming to our communities anytime soon; who would be prepared to pay for such a subsidy? It’s a real dilemma, failure to scrutinise local political decision making will lead to poorer decisions. In turn, this will lead to a more significant waste of public money. Undoubtedly more than the cost of the subsidy in the first place.

I think there may be three practical steps we can all take:

  • Find our local news site; it may be a newspaper or a community group, sign up and join the discussion.
  • Attend local Council and Public service meetings and remember to ask a question, how they handle the response may tell you a great about how they feel about scrutiny.
  • Support national and regional newspapers through their subscription services, pay a little to benefit a great deal.

What’s next…

I have always wanted Oulook, (my current PIM of choice), my phone, and slate to know something about what I am up to. I mean beyond automatically setting my ring tone to silent during meetings. Google Now is heading in the right direction, telling me the weather in the morning, the proximity of food outlets at lunchtime and bars in the evening.

Context seems to be the name for this tech. Robert Scoble does a great job of looking at why we should both worry and how we might benefit from it.

We all know that our mobile phones are spying on us. If you are in blissful ignorance of this don’t watch Malte Spitz. You won’t like what you see. But what if we don’t mind being tracked as long as we are the only ones to benefit from it.

The challenge is how do we benefit from Context without handing security services both public and private the perfect source of tracking information.

If Microsoft, Google and Apple get this wrong, I will need to watch Enemy of the State again for a new set of tips and tricks.

First forget technology…. then think

Why do so many good ideas not get adopted, particularly in the NHS? I believe it may be because the NHS spend so much time on the biology and technology they forget the psychology.

If you address psychology first you may save a fortune; a power company in the US  wanted to reduce their carbon footprint.  They planned to introduced alternative forms of non-carbon energy generation.   But they wanted to reduce the footprint more quickly so  they wrote to their customers and told them how much energy they were using compared to their neighbours.   Bingo! a 2-3 % reduction in carbon consumption across all their customers, or $900M in carbon benefit.

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Not technology just psychology.  Now that is a pychnotechnology solution!