Om and Rafat are the future of news

Not much time to post today — in the middle of moving, which is not an easy thing with three daughters, two of whom are teenagers — but I wanted to take note of the Wall Street Journal article about bloggers finding financial backing, and not just because it mentions my friend Om Malik, who was kind enough to come north to Toronto for mesh even though he didn’t know any of us from Adam.

The story notes that Om recently left Business 2.0 magazine to go full-time as a blogger and start what is likely to become a new media organization, and it also notes that Rafat Ali and the team at PaidContent also got financing from long-time tech investor Alan Patricof’s Greycroft Partners. Rafat says they will be “hiring a journalist in NYC, starting our UK vertical, launching a redesign of all our sites, hiring more staff for operations and sales, bringing on interns, planning more industry mixers and developing conferences, starting our research arm, and more.”

This is a nice counterpoint to Richard Siklos’s recent piece in the New York Times, in which he talked about how minuscule new media ventures are compared with “old” media such as News Corp. — and there’s no question that the relatively tiny sums given to Om and Rafat (less than $1-million each) wouldn’t even show up on the books of a major media outlet.

But I would argue that any media organization with brains should be paying close attention to what Om and particularly Rafat and his team are doing — it may sound apocalyptic, but PaidContent is the future of journalism in many ways. They are doing more enterprise reporting than lots of newspapers and magazines, and at one-tenth the cost. As Jeff Jarvis notes, from small seeds. Cynthia Brumfield at IPDemocracy (another excellent site for news and commentary) compares it to the early days of cable.

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