Encouraging words from Reuters

My old media buddy Scott Karp at Publishing 2.0 is pretty down on the recent remarks by Reuters CEO Tom Glocer, who spoke at an Online Publishers Association conference and had his speech blogged by Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine.com. Scott says media aren’t anywhere even close to Media 2.0 and that Glocer has “fooled 2.0 advocates like Jeff Jarvis into thinking he’s drunk the Koolaid” when he really hasn’t.

The Reuters CEO certainly wouldn’t be the first media executive to talk the talk without walking the walk, but at least from my reading of what Jeff wrote, and what Jeremy Wagstaff of the Wall Street Journal wrote over at his Loose Wire blog, I think Scott is being overly harsh in his assessment. Yes, the media have a long way to go – and yes, it’s easy for someone like Glocer to talk all fancy about “seeding the clouds” and “providing the tools,” in a brave attempt to prove that old media is still relevant. And yet, isn’t Scott the one who keeps telling us that old media is still relevant?

I think Glocer has a pretty smart view of what’s going on. He knows that consumers are seeking out information in different places and in different ways. As Jeff quotes him saying:

They’re consuming, they’re creating, they’re sharing, and they’re publishing themselves. So the consumer wants to not only run the printing press, the consumer wants to set the Linotype.

So Glocer wants media to be “seeders of clouds,” which Scott scoffs at (Scott scoffs – I like that). Media are already seeders of clouds, he says, because their stuff winds up on memeorandum.com and digg.com and triggers blog posts. True – but plenty of blog posts wind up seeding old media stories too, believe me, and more so every day. He also says that media doesn’t need to provide the tools, because the tools already exist elsewhere.

More than anything, Scott seems to be irritated that old media haven’t moved faster – and I share his frustration (if that’s what it is). But at least Glocer seems to be going in the right direction, and that has to be worth something, doesn’t it? Richard MacManus over at Read/Write Web seems to have a take similar to mine, and does a good job of rebutting some of Scott’s points.

Nick Carr, of course, manages to turn it into something that is about smart people versus stupid people. But he has since softened his tone somewhat, after reading more from Tom Glocer. In fact, Nick’s most recent post on the topic sounds almost reasonable 🙂

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