From Few, Many

Just a quick food-for-thought quote from Clay Shirky’s speech at the Shorenstein Center last week. Here he’s addressing the false dilemma fallacy that keeps popping up in industry conversations about the “future form” of journalism:

So we don’t need another different kind of institution that does 85 percent of accountability journalism. We need a class of institutions or models, whether they’re endowments or crowdsourced or what have you. We need a model that produces five percent of accountability journalism. And we need to get that right 17 times in a row.

Point noted? There is no one-to-one, monolithic replacement for the existing media models waiting in the wings. Nothing that we can just swap in and be on our merry way. What’s eroding now was the product of intent mixed with historic coincidence, to a scale present economics won’t replicate.

The future will be small, messy, and enumerative. Now let’s get on with it, shall we?