How to make your point…Part 1

Or should I say – how to ‘unwittingly’ make your point. Markoff from the NYT (which, from what I can tell is really just pissed that he hasn’t been on the front page enough since he broke Mitnick) hosted a talk called "Why Newspapers Still Matter".

I actually still love my newspapers, but I also argue vociferously for the creation of intelligent agents to parse through the hundreds of millions of information sources and show me what I probably want to know. He uses the standard argument of serendipity – with which I agree. But then spends the last 10 mins of a 12 min talk slamming the editors and God (or Acts of God, more precisely) for moving ‘important’ stories beyond A1.

This is exactly why computers can often (ok, maybe rarely) do a better job distilling news for me than a bunch of guys sitting around a table at 4pm in NY – humans are irrational. In fact his talk shows why newspapers SHOULDN’T matter- namely because there is a constrained resource (the size of the paper), office politcs, God, and laziness of the reader not to get past the front page.

Contrast this to an agent who intimately knows you and can gracefully scale what you see and don’t see throughout the day, across multiple modes of display, and without regard for human emotion, and the case against old media starts to gel.


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