V-Log: How To #Disrupt The #Newpaper Business With A #SocialMedia #App

by Shelton Bumgarner

I go into a lot of detail about how, specifically you could disrupt the newspaper industry if you had, say, over $1 billion on hand to shake things up a little bit with a startup app.

In-Line Editing As A Key Feature In A #Startup Meant To #Disrupt The Newspaper Industry

by Shelton Bumgarner

While there are any number of features that Usenet had that have mysteriously not managed to make it to modern social media, the one feature that might be the most revolutionary in the end is in-line editing. For 20 years, news Websites have had a comment section that was either below or to the side of the content.

But if you gave people the ability to in-line edit the content that you generated in the app, I think that might be a killer feature. People would really enjoy the ability to have a conversation about the content inside of it. Of course, there is the issue of scalablity. I would propose managing that through redundancy of Groups that the fullpage Posts would be in as well as management of who could actually contribute content into the system.

Redundancy of Groups would be an important aspect of this service. I see this app as an Uber for news. You hire a lot of laid off reporters from around the country and use them to seed the service. I’ve proposed Time Magazine could save itself through this proposed app, but no one listens to me and so I’m just rambling at this point.

Regardless, this is a strong concept. I just wish someone would do something with it.

The Vision Thing: How To Save The Newspaper Business By Disrupting It

by Shelton Bumgarner

I have given this some thought and I realize that rather than a “top-down” disruption of the newspaper business, you would need to do a “bottom-up” approach. I say this because it’s highly unlikely you could find an egotistical billionaire willing to put up with the slow-mo mentality of the legacy newspaper organization. But if you told them you were going to completely disrupt the newspaper business with a fleet footed startup, I think you might be surprised.

So, what I would do is, rather than buy up newspapers and convert them to a social media platform based on Usenet, I would design such a platform and use it to strike at the jugular of the traditional newspaper business. What you do is, you design the platform in such a way that quality content bubbles up to the surface and journalists would be make money off of the content they contributed to the system. You might have a few well-paid journalists to seed the system at first, but those people would not be the point of the platform.

The point of the platform would be to completely destroy the traditional newspaper business. You would do so because of how it was designed. You would give journalists an entire page to work with and that content would be threaded. End-users would also be given the ability to in-line edit what you had originally written. You start the service off somewhere like New York City where there are a lot of journalists hungry to make money. Once you get the kinks out, you expand the service to the cities across the country. The point of all of this would be to provide a platform for world, national, local and hyperlocal coverage. If you loved covering city hall, you could do that and the the system would provide you with a platform to that and make money.

Now, I think Korea has something similar to this but I don’t think it’s a social media platform. That’s the key difference. This would be a social media platform designed specifically to promote and reward quality content. Everyone who contributed to the service would be graded by users and they would also receive points for the number of views or clicks they got.

You would have to be sneaky though. If you didn’t do it right, the entire media industry would gang up on you and scream bloody murder for you killing the traditional notion of how news is distributed. It’s one thing to kill the taxi industry and quite another to kill the newspaper business. But the newspaper business is dying anyway and this would be an example of burning the village to the ground to save it.

It’s possible that Reddit could co-opt all of these features if your service became popular enough, but, then again maybe they wouldn’t. But this is definitely something to think about.

A Vision For Saving Newspapers In The Trumplandia Era

by Shelton Bumgarner

It appears as though if nothing else, Trumplandia has sparked a fierce newspapers battle between The New York Times and The Washington Post. But the long-term survival of the newspaper business continues to be up in the air. While those two newspapers are well financed, the industry as a whole continues to struggle.

I have written at great length about how I would save the newspaper business and for various reasons, I will try to do a quick recap here. Though, I must note that I know no one listens to me and I’m kind of shouting into the void as things stand.

One thing that is clear is the newspaper business is ripe to be disrupted. But, if I was going to disrupt it, I would disrupt it from within. One of the reasons no one has figured out how to disrupt the newspaper business already is it’s a tough nut to crack give its social component.

But let’s talk a little bit about how you might do it.

To me, to disrupt the newspaper business, you need to re-imagine newspapers altogether. Instead of coming at it from a tech angle and hiring a lot of young reporters on the cheap then throwing algorithms at the problem, I would buy a few regional newspapers — they’re pretty cheap n real terms now — and then go from there.

Now, if you had a big chunk of change to play with — say upwards of a $100 million, I buy a company like Tronc which owns The Chicago Tribune and The LA Times and hook the entire chain up to something that aimed to be a Twitter Killer. Because I think given how desperate things are for the newspaper business, only by embracing social media in a full throated manner can newspapers possibly expect to thrive.

What, exactly, would the feature set of this Twitter Killer look like?

I have go into great detail as to what I think it would look like elsewhere — most notably on my Instagram account — but let’s do it again real quick.

First, you’d have Sections. These would be your typical newspapers sections and would help group content produced by your reporters.

Second, you’d have Groups. This is where things get interesting because only verified account holders could make Groups. Groups would be similar to the old Usenet Newsgroup in that they would contain threads, though in this scenario I call them Discussions.

Discussions would allow your reporters to post articles that people could inline edit in the context of a threaded discussion. It wouldn’t have to be a newspaper article, but that would be one option. There would be a robust live chat feature similar to Slack, but for the masses. It would be archive and searchable.

This concept only works if you buy up a bunch of newspapers and give them something akin to a national footprint. That’s why you might also use this concept with Time Inc., given that it is a national brand.

But, regardless, it’s probably too late to impliment this concept for various reasons. Chief among them being VR and AR are where all the money is these days and it’s doubtful you could get the investment needed to pull this off.

I still think, though, that if you did Twitter one better that something pretty cool could happen. Twitter is the center of the national and global debate these days and yet it has a horrible interface and a sharp learning curve in some respects.

Produce a better mousetrap, if you will, and maybe something cool would happen.

This is more of a general talk about issues of the day, but it’s worth a watch.