Two new items today re Sources Go Direct.
1. Felix Salmon notes that Google went direct with news of their acquisition of Motorola.
2. On today's Brian Lehrer Show, the former attorney for the NY Times in the Ellsberg case, says the difference between Ellsberg and Julian Assange, is that Assange is a publisher, therefore is protected under the First Amendment.
Bravo for Assange and Google for going direct, and skipping the step of using reporters to carry their message. Ellsberg, in the 70s, didn't have that option and had to wait for a "news organization" to publish the Pentagon Papers. But publishing and being a news organization are not the same thing. And if you think that news organizations don't have agendas, I have a great bridge I'd like to sell you. At the very least they have as agenda to prove that they're better than the bloggers on the Internet. And often, if not always, they have a lot more to prove.
And congratulations to James Goodale for realizing that the world has changed, and someone can be both a source and a publisher at the same time.
I've been saying this for fifteen years. It's one of those ideas that at first seems unbelievable, then you realize it means freedom and responsibility in a whole different way. Sources Go Direct is the biggest single change in the way news works in the age of the Internet.
When you see a newsmaker with a blog or a Twitter feed, that's a platform for a source going direct. In tech, Fred Wilson, Mark Cuban are great examples. All the politicos with Twitter accounts are sources going direct, but they're not yet using their bully pulpit to great advantage. There's lots more to do, but they still place too high a value in getting their soundbites in the conventional media. That will change.
And for news organizations that are modeled on the pre-Internet news industry, the change can be gradual and relatively easy. Open the gates and take on new writers who you think of as sources. Give each their own platform within your platform, to make it clear that there's a person responsible for what's written here. It's not too late to pick up some big names and get them working on your team. Just beware that they have opinions and points of view, that they are not objective (but then neither are the reporters you employ today).