Every so often news breaks and stops everyone dead in their tracks. When a story is big enough, it literally invades our lives. My friend and angel investor Eghosa Omoigui sees it this way: “News is the only industry that’s inherently interventional. If someone says ‘Breaking News’ you will turn, and you won’t resent the interference.”
Today the Internet and mobile devices keep us closely connected, allowing news to spread exponentially faster than ever before. The social revolution led by Facebook and Twitter is completely changing who provides me the news. Aggregators like Flipboard, TweetDeck, and Seesmic are disrupting where I read the news. Even worse for anyone out there with a journalism degree, mobile devices are completely changing who writes the news.
With billions of people carrying around Internet-connected devices capable of recording and transmitting images and video, any major event is assuredly going to be reported on directly by an eyewitness of the event. The mainstream media has already moved quickly to adapt to citizen journalism, breaking the news of the tsunami in Japan with videos from YouTube, and the heroic landing of a U.S. Airways flight on the Hudson River via an iPhone photo uploaded to TwitPic. CNN has gone so far as to create iReport, a website where anyone can upload content to be used directly by CNN in their breaking news coverage.
The incumbent news publishers have enjoyed a fruitful industry that’s spanned centuries. However, in the era of digital journalism, only the strong will survive. News isn’t going away–it continues to invade all our lives. This space is ripe for innovation in both the creation and distribution of news. When the dust settles, I’m fairly confident that the new leaders will be companies born today, and as an investor that’s an exciting opportunity I’ll be keeping a close eye on.
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