When we go online, each of us is our own editor, our own gatekeeper. We select the kind of news and opinions that we care most about.
Nicholas Negroponte of M.I.T. has called this emerging news product The Daily Me. And if that’s the trend, God save us from ourselves.
That’s because there’s pretty good evidence that we generally don’t truly want good information — but rather information that confirms our prejudices. We may believe intellectually in the clash of opinions, but in practice we like to embed ourselves in the reassuring womb of an echo chamber.
I'm not sure that the demise of print media necessarily has to accelerate this trend - you could always choose to subscribe to print magazines that fit your preconceived notions like the Weekly Standard or The Nation, or turn to the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal over those of the New York Times.
I don't see how the problem is whether something is printed or online - I hate having stacks of old magazines or newspapers in my house, so I prefer to read online, but I (and I think many others) still value quality, edited content, and I'd be willing to pay for a subscription.
Edited (and thus more expensive) content does have to compete with blogs for attention, but maybe there is a niche for unedited, Web 2.0 content on high-quality sites that are open to a variety of ideological slants. Blogging so far seems to be either about trivialities, occasionally mixed with meatier materials, or about purusuing ideas from one ideological angle, even if the material is consistently high quality. And that's fine on its own; but if we're concerned about what's going to replace the disappearing 'old media', maybe it's time to for people who care about stimulating content, no matter what the ideology, to start bringing some heavy-hitters under one blogging umbrella.
We like to think that we're doing this here. A few other places, like Balkinization consistently put up thoughtful articles from different view points. Do any of you know any others?