《经济学人》:新闻产业的未来,重回咖啡屋时代
日期:2011-07-19 10:47

(单词翻译:单击)

The future of news新闻产业的未来

Back to the coffee house重回咖啡屋时代

The internet is taking the news industry back to the conversational culture of the era before mass media

互联网正在将新闻产业带回到大众传媒出现前的时代。

THREE hundred years ago news travelled by word of mouth or letter, and circulated in taverns and coffee houses in the form of pamphlets, newsletters and broadsides. “The Coffee houses particularly are very commodious for a free Conversation, and for reading at an easie Rate all manner of printed News,” noted one observer. Everything changed in 1833 when the first mass-audience newspaper, the New York Sun, pioneered the use of advertising to reduce the cost of news, thus giving advertisers access to a wider audience. At the time of the launch America’s bestselling paper sold just 4,500 copies a day; the Sun, with its steam press, soon reached 15,000. The penny press, followed by radio and television, turned news from a two-way conversation into a one-way broadcast, with a relatively small number of firms controlling the media.

三百年前,新闻以口头或书面形式传播,并且以小册子、简报的形式在小餐馆或咖啡屋中流传。据一名观察员说,咖啡屋是进行自由交谈的不二选择,并且也是休闲阅读的理想场所。但是事情在1883年发生重大转变,第一个面向大众的报纸,纽约太阳报诞生,并且首次引入广告来降低新闻成本,一举两得地为赞助商寻到更多的观众。当纽约报面世时,美国销量最好的杂志每天可以卖4,500份;但是太阳报却很快达到15,000的销量。报纸以及随后而来的广播、电视将新闻传播方式从两方面的交流变为一方面的由少数公司控制的传播。

Now, as our special report explains, the news industry is returning to something closer to the coffee house. The internet is making news more participatory, social, diverse and partisan, reviving the discursive ethos of the era before mass media. That will have profound effects on society and politics.

现在,正如我们的特别报道所言,新闻产业正在向之前咖啡屋相近转变。互联网使新闻变得更易参与,更具有社会性,更容易听到不同的声音,让新闻从大众传媒时代重回百家争鸣的盛况。这对社会及政治将产生重大影响。

Going West
In much of the world, the mass media are flourishing. Newspaper circulation rose globally by 6% between 2005 and 2009, helped by particularly strong demand in places like India, where 110m papers are now sold daily. But those global figures mask a sharp decline in readership in rich countries.

在世界大部分地区,大众传媒都在蓬勃发展。世界范围内的报纸销量从2005年到2009年增长了6%,特别是有巨大需求的印度地区,每天就有1亿1千万的销量。但在富裕国家读者人数却大幅下降。

Over the past decade, throughout the Western world, people have been giving up newspapers and TV news and keeping up with events in profoundly different ways. Most strikingly, ordinary people are increasingly involved in compiling, sharing, filtering, discussing and distributing news. Twitter lets people anywhere report what they are seeing. Classified documents are published in their thousands online. Mobile-phone footage of Arab uprisings and American tornadoes is posted on social-networking sites and shown on television newscasts. An amateur video taken during the Japanese earthquake has been watched 15m times on YouTube. “Crowdsourcing” projects bring readers and journalists together to sift through troves of documents, from the expense claims of British politicians to Sarah Palin’s e-mails. Social-networking sites help people find, discuss and share news with their friends.

过去十年整个西方世界中,人们逐渐放弃报纸和电视,而是通过其它的方式与时俱进。更引人著目的是更多的普通民众参与到新闻的收集、分享、筛选和讨论中。推特使人们可以随时随地将他们的所见所闻相互分享。各种各样的文件被无数在线用户上传。手机拍客们拍摄的阿拉伯暴乱以及美国龙卷风的视频和照片在社交网络中广泛传播并且为电视报道所引用。YouTube上一部摄于日本地震期间的相关视频被浏览一千五百万次。“众包”将读者与记者紧密联系在了一起,共同处理各种新闻文件,从英国政客的消费声明到Sarah Palin的邮件。社交网络为人们与好友之间寻找、讨论和分享新闻提供了平台。

And it is not just readers who are challenging the media elite. Technology firms including Google, Facebook and Twitter have become important (some say too important) conduits of news. Celebrities and world leaders, including Barack Obama and Hugo Chávez, publish updates directly via social networks; many countries now make raw data available through “open government” initiatives. The internet lets people read newspapers or watch television channels from around the world: the Guardian, a British newspaper, now has more online readers abroad than at home. The web has allowed new providers of news, from individual bloggers to sites such as the Huffington Post, to rise to prominence in a very short space of time. And it has made possible entirely new approaches to journalism, such as that practised by WikiLeaks, which provides an anonymous way for whistleblowers to publish documents. The news agenda is no longer controlled by a few press barons and state outlets, like the BBC.

不仅仅是读者在向传统传媒发起挑战。包括谷歌、脸谱、Twitter在内的科技公司也逐渐成为新闻传播的重要渠道。包括奥巴马在内的许多名流和政要通过社交网络公布他们的实时动态。互联网打破了人们阅读报纸及收看电视频道的地域限制:the Grardian, 一份英国报纸,现在较其本土读者有更多的网上读者。从博客到类似Huffington Post的网站,互联网使更多人成为新闻的可能提供者,在很短时间内就获得大量关注。互联网也为新闻的发布提供了一种全新的可能,正如维基解密所做的那样,为揭密者提供匿名发布信息的平台。新闻媒体再也不会为少数传媒巨头或部分政府部门所控制,就像BBC。

We contort, you deride
In principle, every liberal should celebrate this. A more participatory and social news environment, with a remarkable diversity and range of news sources, is a good thing. A Texan who once had to rely on the Houston Chronicle to interpret the world can now collect information from myriad different sources. Authoritarian rulers everywhere have more to fear. So what, many will say, if journalists have less stable careers? All the same, two areas of concern stand out.

原则上来说,每个自由主义人士都应该为此庆祝。一个更具有参与性与社会性的新闻环境,一个更加集思广益、百家争鸣的新闻环境是值得庆祝的。德克萨斯人曾经必须依靠Houston Chronicle来与外界保持联系,但现在却可以通过无数的渠道得到他们想要的消息。专治统治者忧心忡忡。但也有很多人发问,这会不会对记者这个职业产生冲击呢?同样引起关注的还有两点。

The first worry is the loss of “accountability journalism”, which holds the powerful to account. Shrinking revenues have reduced the amount and quality of investigative and local political reporting in the print press.

首先就是担心负责任的媒体会越来越少,这些媒体会对他们报道的内容负责。经费的减少降低了调查研究和本地政治报道的数量和质量。

But old-style journalism was never quite as morally upstanding as journalists like to think. Indeed, the News of the World, a British newspaper which has been caught hacking into people’s mobile phones, is a very traditional sort of scandal sheet (see article). Meantime, the internet is spawning new forms of accountability. A growing band of non-profit outfits such as ProPublica, the Sunlight Foundation and WikiLeaks are helping to fill the gap left by the decline of watchdog media. This is still a work in progress, but the degree of activity and experimentation provides cause for optimism.

但传统传媒却并不总是像记者所想像的一样高尚。世界新闻报,一份英国报纸,被指证窃听人们的手机,这是非常普遍的丑闻之一。同时,互联网正在传播一种新的责任形式。一些个还在增加的非盈利组织,像Propublica, the Sunlight Foundation and wikiLeaks,正在帮助减小由于watchdog media下降带来的断带。这是一项仍未完成的任务,但是活动和实验的程度为乐观主义者提供了信心。

The second concern has to do with partisanship. In the mass-media era local monopolies often had to be relatively impartial to maximise their appeal to readers and advertisers. In a more competitive world the money seems to be in creating an echo chamber for people’s prejudices: thus Fox News, a conservative American cable-news channel, makes more profits than its less strident rivals, CNN and MSNBC, combined.

第二个值得关注的就是党派性。在大众传媒时代,地方寡头必须保持相对的公正性以吸引读者和赞助商。在一个更具有竞争性的世界中,金钱似乎正在为偏见提供肥沃的土壤:就像Fox News,一家美国保守派有线新闻电视台,比没有它言语犀利的两家CNN和MSNBC合起来赚得还要多。

In one way the increasing availability of partisan news is to be welcomed. In the past many people—especially right-wing Americans, since most American television was left-leaning—had nothing to watch that reflected their views. But as news is becoming more opinionated, both politics and the facts are suffering: witness some American conservatives’ insistence that Barack Obama was born outside America, and others’ refusal to accept that taxes must rise (see article).

在某种情况下,大量政党新闻的涌入是会被欢迎的。在过去,许多人-特别是右翼人士,因为大多数美国电视是左倾的-在电视上找不到反应他们政治立场的节目。政治与事实都在忍受固执己见的新闻的打击:有人坚称奥巴马是在国外出生的,也有人拒绝接受税收必须上调。

What is to be done? At a societal level, not much. The transformation of the news business is unstoppable, and attempts to reverse it are doomed to failure. But there are steps individuals can take to mitigate these worries. As producers of new journalism, they can be scrupulous with facts and transparent with their sources. As consumers, they can be catholic in their tastes and demanding in their standards. And although this transformation does raise concerns, there is much to celebrate in the noisy, diverse, vociferous, argumentative and stridently alive environment of the news business in the age of the internet. The coffee house is back. Enjoy it.

有什么需要做的呢?在社会层面需要我们做的并不多。新闻产业的转型势不可挡,任何意图阻止转型的行为都注定失败。但个人确实可以采取有效措施来减轻前面提到的几种担心。大众作为新式传媒的缔造者,可以自己对所谓事实的真实性把关并公开信息来源。而作为新闻受众的时候,大众可以接触更多领域的信息并且降低需求的标准。虽然转型确实带来了一些麻烦,但更值得庆祝的是在互联网时代有这样一个集思广益、百家争鸣的新闻平台。咖啡屋时代即将回归。与它共舞吧!

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重点单词
  • argumentativeadj. 爱争论的,好辩论的
  • insistencen. 坚持,强调,坚决主张
  • anonymousadj. 匿名的,无名的,没特色的
  • rangen. 范围,行列,射程,山脉,一系列 v. 排列,归类于
  • transformationn. 转型,转化,改造
  • eliten. 精华,精锐,中坚份子
  • availableadj. 可用的,可得到的,有用的,有效的
  • earthquaken. 地震
  • qualityn. 品质,特质,才能 adj. 高品质的
  • competitiveadj. 竞争的,比赛的