Check out my latest column piece for INQUIRER.net’s Infotech section.
Here’s an excerpt:
I don’t believe this ongoing revolution and evolution in new media will be a zero-sum battle, one in which only one side will emerge as the winner. It’s too simplistic to say that mainstream media is the one which will ultimately prevail, or that bloggers will rule the world. Both sides can learn a lot from each other. And as someone who received a lot of flak over two years ago for saying that mainstream media can adapt blogging and other online tools to their own needs to deliver the news (something, which, by the way, many publications all over the world have since done, just as some bloggers who once found mainstream media distasteful have since become newspaper columnists), I maintained then and continue to maintain that publications should embrace new technology without forgetting the tenets of journalism. It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the revolution that you forget the right things mainstream media has done, and the lessons you can learn from their experiences. It’s like the dotcoms forgetting that business rules apply to them.
The new media landscape is one which can accommodate different producers of content. Some will be more valuable than others, but ideally the coming ubiquity of bandwidth means that all content will be equally accessible, but users will choose the destinations that give them the content they want. We will live with contradictions, because, well, quite frankly, we’re used to that. For instance, it’s ironic that some people think Time’s declaration of You as Person of the Year validates the Web 2.0 revolution and makes it more real. Does the fact that mainstream media declared it make this pronouncement more valuable than some blogger saying the same thing? Would a blogger or YouTube addict who doesn’t even read Time really give a damn that Time has patted him or her on the back? Is it a feather on your cap as a blogger if you’re featured on mainstream media, or if your entries are republished in the newspaper?
By the way, in case you haven’t noticed, we’ve begun the rollover to INQUIRER.net, which is the online arm of the Inquirer publishing group. INQUIRER.net will partner with GMANews.tv for the INQ7.net portal, which will expand to showcase more content and services from our respective sites.
It’s an interesting moment for me, and I can’t help but feel that things have come full circle. For most of my career, I’ve been working for the Inquirer group of companies, from my days as a correspondent for the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Infotech section in 1998 and later as a full-time reporter for them starting in 1999.
I was still a PDI reporter when I became part of the team of pioneers that spun off the then Inquirer.net into INQ7.net. Yup, I was tapped as an editor for INQ7.net while still working as a reporter for PDI in 2000, months before INQ7 Interactive Inc. was incorporated and formally launched on February 27, 2001.
Those were the days of shuttling back and forth from that small corner in the PDI library to the new INQ7 office that was being set up in Rufino Building. Only those who were there during those early days could fully appreciate what it was like and what we were doing as a labor of love, who could understand such inside jokes as the “gas chamber” that the editorial room became every day at 5 p.m. when it would be spray painted even while we stayed to do the Breaking News and edit the different sections.
The INQ7.net portal will become even bigger as the Philippine Daily Inquirer and GMA Network have signed a new agreement that will relaunch it as a doorway to the INQUIRER.net and GMANews.tv sites. The partnership will benefit both companies and bring more content and services to readers, but what’s important is that we will also be able to concentrate on building our respective online brands.
At the end of the day, success in the online world also depends on your partnerships, as well as in coopetition with your competitors. I think people will also agree that even among partners or, heck, sister companies, competition is healthy. Hindi dahil partner mo, you’re gonna hold back or pagbibigyan mo.
Our goal, as the Inquirer.net team, as the INQ7.net team, and now as the INQUIRER.net team again, has always been to strive to be the best online news site. It doesn’t matter how many page views we already have, or that we already have a million unique visitors a day. It doesn’t matter how many readers we already have, or how far behind our competitors are. We always want to be even better than our previous best. We want more. We know there are more worlds out there to conquer, more people we should reach out to with our content and services.
Now we can concentrate on INQUIRER.net, on developing new content and services and integrating the online properties of the other members of the Inquirer group of companies, which has grown over the years. As you can see from the example of this Mobile Philippines beta site Jayvee Fernandez has previewed on his blog.
So to our friends over at GMANews.tv — and I do have friends over there at GMA, regardless of what I personally think of some of the decisions of their top brass — good luck.
Pagalingan na lang, dahil mga readers ang makikinabang kapag maganda ang content sa INQ7.net. Readers already know what INQUIRER.net is capable of over the years, and we’re just getting started.
Let’s see what 2007 has in store for Filipino readers.