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The New Media Way Is Better Than The Old Media Way


The New York Times ran a story yesterday on a new group known as The Coffee Party. What follows is a classic contrast in how old media handles a news story vs. how new media handles a news story. Leave your politics aside for the moment and look at this excerpt from Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion:

Update: Interesting, I received a phone call from Kate Zernike, the author of the NY Times article, who felt that I did not sufficiently credit her article with disclosing Park’s background and motives. Specificially, Zernike pointed out that the Times’ article said the Coffee Party “was formed in reaction to the Tea Party” and offered “an alternative” to the Tea Party. Zernike also felt that the pro-Obama nature of the Coffee Party was adequately disclosed because the article pointed out that one of the organizers in California (not Park) had campaigned for Obama.

I explained that I did not feel that the NY Times article adequately disclosed (i) the depth of the connection to the Obama campaign reflected in Park’s background, or (ii) that the specific purpose of the Coffee Party, as expressed in Park’s Tweets, was to undermine the Tea Party.

I told Ms. Zernike that I would do an update to this post, and I hoped that she would do an update to her article to explain Park’s Obama connection and apparent motivations. Ms. Zernike declined, explaining that she had to limit her article to 700 words.

There are several points here.  First kudos to NYT writer Kate Zernike for even engaging with Mr. Jacobson (Legal Insurrection’s author). That’s the new media way. In times past her article would have received at best heated letters to the editor that would have most likely been ignored.  Unfortunately she chose not to (or is not allowed to by her editors) comment directly at Legal Insurrection. That’s the old media way.

If you choose to read the 60 comments on the post you will see there is a vibrant and quite heated debate about the merits or lack thereof in the original NYT piece (warning lots of comments with adult language). Thats the new media way.

Mr. Jacobson updated his post as soon as he had new information and shared Ms. Zernike’s perspective. That’s the new media way.

Ms. Zernike stated she was unable to update her article due to an arbitrary 700 word limit. Thats the old media way.

Mr. Jacob has no such limitation and I am sure will continue to update his post as more information becomes available including any further replies from Ms. Zernike. That’s the new media way.

Ms. Zernike gathered the facts pertaining to her story and then she and her editors decided what was relevant and she presented a summary of that information. Thats the old media way.

Mr. Jacobson researched her story, and provided his sources right in his post including past Tweets from Annabel Park (the subject of the original article) and YouTube Video that Ms. Park helped to promote online. Mr. Jacobson then offered his conclusions and his transparent views about the Coffee Party and Ms. Zernike’s story. That’s the new media way.

Ms. Zernike of course provided no background on her own inherent views an political leanings coming into the story. Thats the old media way.

The old media way believes professional reporters are able to completely ignore their personal views and “just present the facts”. We all know that’s baloney.

Mememorandum (Techmeme’s sister site focused on politics) then picked up Legal Insurrection’s story as a hot topic in the blogosphere including links to the original NYT article and more than a dozen blogs who were also commenting on the original story and Legal Insurrection’s post. That’s the new media way.

What is the lesson here?

The new media way is the better way and the reason the old media is dying a horrible and painful death.

Any other differences between the new media way and old media way that I left out?

Please leave them below in the comments section.


That’s the new media way by the way 8).


  • Bags

    Love this post. It hits the nail right on the head. The hard thing is convincing the sublimely ignorant that their resistance to impending change is not, in fact, a lasting bliss.

    It’s so sad to see people cling to a sinking ship, thoroughly convinced that there’s no such things as icebergs.

  • Lisa Padilla

    Agree, nice post. But the ‘sublimely ignorant’ are resistant for good reasons; bottom-line, keeping advertising partners happy, their own job security. The large publishers can turn to web service developers who understand how to bridge their content and culture to the new media way. That means flexibility, compatibility, subtle changes to editorial calendars, and an ability to show them how to leverage the social media landscape.

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