Amateurs on the net

From the NY Times...

"The Kid With All the News About the TV News

TOWSON, Md. When people in the television news business want to find out what's going on in their industry, they turn to a blog called TVNewser. But while the executives obsessively checking TVNewser are mostly high powered and highly paid, the person who creates it is not: he is Brian Stelter, a baby-faced 21-year-old at Towson University here, a few miles north of Baltimore.

I've heard people joke that when TVNewser is dormant, the kid had a final or a big family dinner that he couldn't get out of said Brian Williams, the NBC news anchor and a TVNewser devotee. People from entry level to high and mighty check in on it.

It is read religiously by network presidents, media executives, producers and publicists, not for any stinging commentary from Mr. Stelter, whose style is usually described as earnest, but because it provides a quick snapshot of the industry on any given day. Habitus include Mr. Williams and Jonathan Klein, the president of CNN's domestic operations, who long ago offered up his cellphone number to Mr. Stelter."

Perhaps this is what the techno-geeks had in mind when they invented the Internet a device to squash not only time and space, but also social class and professional hierarchies, putting an unprepossessing Maryland college student with several term papers due in a position to command the attention and grudging respect of some of society's most famous and powerful personalities.

Of course, it's great to see so many execs getting their industry info from a passionate amateur, a blogger to boot. Paul Graham wrote, "What Businesses Can Learn From Open Source " in August 2005, that apparently has taken hold at least with execs. What's sad though is that most employees and middle managers are clueless about this web 2.0 stuff as it applies to their daily work activities.

Hey, there's the longtail. There are Brian Stelter's in every category imaginable on the net. Me and my crew for example spend our time in open source software communities and universities (Stanford, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon) trying out software code and learning about what's new.

From Pew Research...

Fully 40 million Americans use the internet as their primary source of news and information about science and 87% of online users have at one time used the internet to carry out research on a scientific topic or concept. As a primary source for science information, the internet is second only to television among the general population. For Americans with high-speed internet connections at home, the internet is as popular as TV for news and information about science. And for young adults with high-speed connections at home, the internet is the most popular source for science news and information by a 44% to 32% margin over television.

The national survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American LifeProject in collaboration with the Exploratorium http://www.exploratorium.edu benchmarks how the internet fits into people's habits for gathering news and information about science.

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