Remember the early hype about everyone being a Net publisher and the possibility of 1001 viewpoints? Maybe that is what Gutenberg had in mind too. What online media do you consume? How many independent viewpoints do we consume?
Anno 1994: Internet reporter Matt Drudge starts his infamous drudgereport.com. He breaks the Lewinsky scandal, is the first to name vice-presidential nominee in 1996, and first to break the unholy alliance between Microsoft and NBC. All from his Hollywood apartment, a phone line, modem, and a 486 Packard Bell computer.
A year later, salon.com launches and is quickly hailed as a true independent voice. It still is quality journalism today, only with a small change since January of this year: everyone has to pay. A model for the future? Even though the online advertising industry continues to grow, MSNBC.com or Spiegel.de usurp most of the revenue
So what happened to the 1001 viewpoints then? Blogs are surely providing some interesting viewpoints. By now, publishing a web page is easier than setting up your VCR. Thanks to blogger.com or sunlogs.ch. Type, click post, and your done.
Giving access to a medium, allowing opinions of citizens to be heard is essential towards the health of any democracy. More importantly, based on understanding different viewpoints, quality journalism on the Net is becoming harder to find, focus is on find.
As a publisher or journalist, striving for objectivity has been the ultimate ethical goal. Without this qualitative filter, opinions often turn out to be based on personal sentiments rather than arguments. Still, the Net’s potential to present different viewpoints is larger than ever before. More publishers, more web sites, more opinions. More quantity coupled with more quality would be nice.