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Culture

In praise of noise (Scoble)

I don't read news. I read commentary. I find it more interesting. Someone has to report the news so that we have grist for the blogging mill, but without the commentary the "news" isn't worth nearly as much.

Today I read my first ever Scoble blog post. If it's any indication, perhaps I've been missing something, as his contention that "noise" is more interesting than "news". What does he mean? That the earliest-breaking "news" isn't news at all: It's the random chatter in the crowd that holds insight well before the mainstream media groks that point:

Last year I got a tour of the Wall Street Journal's West Coast printing plant. They print 60,000 copies an hour. At the end of the tour the head pressman said "I've been reading this six hours before you did for more than 15 years now and it hasn't helped yet." Why? Cause the news isn't where the action is: the high value bits are stuck in the noise.

As Scoble goes on to note, Google News and Techmeme only carry news from "group" news sources. This means that I'm on Google News because of my CNET affiliation, but most bloggers are not, which is a huge loss for these "news" sites because sometimes (though not always) the best data is not yet organized and packaged into mainstream "news."

This is why I don't read news. I read commentary. I find it more interesting. Someone has to report the news so that we have grist for the blogging mill, but without the commentary the "news" isn't worth nearly as much.