Mark Potts: CNN And Facebook’s Reliable Source

Journalists interviewing journalists about journalism might sound like an Escher nightmare to some, but CNN’s “Reliable Sources” makes it work.

Part of the reason is interesting guests. Yesterday, Westport native and Staples grad Mark Potts was on.

A former technology correspondent for the Washington Post, now a media consultant and journalism professor at the University of Maryland, he and host Howard Kurtz discussed whether Facebook — on the eve of its behemoth IPO — is overtaking traditional media as a source for news.

It’s a great question. To see Mark’s insights, click here.

Mark Potts

9 responses to “Mark Potts: CNN And Facebook’s Reliable Source

  1. I would argue that FB is the water-cooler around which we share the news. As noted in the video, FB doesn’t create content, it just shares it around. It’s not quite as conflicted as Wikipedia, which looks like a source of information, but is really just a cross-reference of other content.
    My bigger concern is how will front-line journalists get funding? The AP (and AFP), Reuters, and other on-the-ground reporting services are the ones at risk as advertising dollars are diverted away from their normal “customers”. Does FB or Wiki pay money to these organizations?

  2. Laz:
    Facebook, whose users create its content, competes for advertising dollars with other media organizations (Wikipedia is a donation-supported non-profit). It doesn’t use the service of news organizations like AP, so it has no reason to pay them.

    There’s a long backstory here–which is why I teach!–but traditional media companies have to find ways to make themselves as compelling and interesting to audiences and advertisers as their modern competitors like Facebook. The question of how we pay for news coverage is one of the greatest challenges facing the media right now, and nobody really has the definitive answer yet. Many of us are working hard to figure it out.

    • Hi Mark, from David Schaffer, one of your WWPT engineers. Thanks to you I purchased the only quadraphonic album I’ve ever owned, Rick Derringer’s “Spring Fever.”

    • We subscribe to the NYT online for the main purpose of getting money into that pipeline. If there was a way to “subscribe” to the AP directly, I might do that.

    • Mark–how does this technological challenge to an existing media business differ from what the radio and motion picture businesses had to face from the advent of television, or even what the newspaper business itself had to deal with in terms of competition from radio and TV? I remember when we used to get an afternoon/evening paper in NYC, the World Telegram & Sun (which obviously was already a merger of more than one newspaper) in addition to a morning newspaper, The New York Times. My wife and I still buy the print edition of The Times, and I very much want to see traditional newspapers continue to survive and thrive because they serve such an important function in our society.

  3. Print is not dead yet. Here’s an interesting story from the University of Northern Iowa. The college picks up the cost of 150 copies of the NY Times each day. It’s led to great class discussions, increased awareness on campus — and, yes, a tie-in with the Times website. There’s hope yet…

  4. Fred:
    Radio and TV decimated the newspaper business a couple of generations ago; the internet is doing it once again, by providing an unprecedented range of choices and voices (for better or worse).

    The print NY Times will probably survive longer than most other printed newspapers, but I know smart people who doubt it will last the decade–the economic trends aren’t in its favor. But the Times is also pretty successful on the Web and on tablets and mobile devices, and at the end of the day, the medium doesn’t matter—it’s all about the survival of quality journalism, whether we read it on a screen or paper.

    If anything, I think the explosion of voices made possible by the Internet–where you don’t need a multimillion-dollar press to be a publisher–is providing more journalism than ever before, and I think that’s a very good thing. The Times is terrific, but there are now lots of other ways to find out what’s going on in the world, as well. That’s a good thing.

    • The behavior of the price of NYT stock suggests that the paper might not be around as long as you would like to think. The company has been selling off assets just to keep the doors open. Newspapers may not survive the 21st century.

  5. Mark was my engineer when WWPT started operation and a Facebook friend. Way to go Mark!