Hi, I'm Molly Wood, and welcome to the Buzz Report ? the show about the tech
news that everybody?s talking about. Let's get right into the gadget of the week,
because we've got a special show for you today!
The Gadget of the Week is the Apple Netbook ? rumor. The word is that Taiwanese
manufacturer Wintek will start shipping touch-screens for a new Apple netbook
sometime in the summer. And I?m here to tell you it?s probably true. Why? First, the
last time there was a flurry of Wintek touch-screen rumors was in July 2007 ?
RIGHT before Apple launched the iPod Touch in September. Yeah. They?ve got a
leak. Second, the new $900 Sony Vaio P-series not-a-netbook proves that it?s
perfectly ok to launch a super-expensive netbook as long as it looks pretty. And we
all know Apple LOOOOVES ?super-expensive? and ?pretty?. Apple Netbook. Take it to
the bank. Oh, and in case you're wondering, I'm not even going to mention that new
Shuffle they announced. Ridiculous. I mean the controls are on the cable of the
junky earbuds that no one even wants and you can?t replace them unless you buy a
dongle for them that costs extra?!? I am not mentioning that.
And now for the news. This week, a BUZZ REPORT SPECIAL REPORT: The death of
This is the week that newspapers turned terminal. They?ve been on the ropes for a
while ? back in the Buzz Out Loud prediction show for 2009, I predicted that one
major U.S. newspaper would go online-only this year. MAN was I shootin? low.
In newspaper bad news this week ALONE: Silicon Alley Insider estimates that
printing and delivering the New York Times costs twice as much as it would cost to
send every subscriber a free Kindle. At LEAST. They refer to the ?technology? of
newsprint as ?laughably expensive and inefficient.? Ouch.
Also this week, Time Magazine (ironically) put out a list of 10 U.S. newspapers that it
predicts will either fold or go digital in the very near future. The papers include
everything from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer to the San Francisco Chronicle to the
Meanwhile, new ideas for replacing newspapers are rolling out faster than breaking
news. MediaNews Group, the fourth-largest newspaper company in the U.S., is
creating a new system for printing ONLY the news YOU WANT on a special printer
at your house. Great, so we're on our way to becoming a world of narrow-minded,
myopic, ignorant fools. Can't wait. That'll end well.
TOM: OR, we'll all end up as well-rounded, well-read intellectuals feeding our minds
at the all-you-can-eat Internet buffet.
MOLLY: Oh, look! It's Tom Merritt, CNET's resident expert! I think it's time for a little
MOLLY: Tom. It's obvious that the death of newspapers will signal the arrival of
intellectual armageddon. Where will we turn for high-quality writing and reporting?
TOM: Oh no, Molly, intellectual armageddon happened awhile back in the 1980s. I
think when Fox launched. No I can guarantee you the Web has just as much
intellectual quality as any other journalistic medium.
MOLLY: Says YOU. But we NEED newspapers as curators of information, helping us
discover news we wouldn't otherwise see.
TOM: In academia we call that agenda setting. It's the idea that some snooty-nosed
trained journalist like me knows more than people. The Web frees us from the
chains of our oppressors who force us to read about gardening tips and puppies.
MOLLY: Ok, A: Gardening tips are important. And B: it's not like people will educate
themselves on their OWN. You can't tell me blogs are higher-quality journalism. You
just can't trust these Internet people.
TOM: Trust them you can, and trust them you will Molly Wood. It's the wisdom of
the crowds. They are wise. Like wizards. Except instead of embarassing gowns
with moons and stars they're in their underwear downstairs in the extra room. And
you get to pick what wisdom from which you crowds you want to read. In fact the
Web lets you sort it by region, political bias and underwear brand.
MOLLY: Right. Which means people just start reading only the news they're
interested in, continue to harden their own opinions and refuse to read counter-
arguments, and ultimately lower the level of debate to constant, closed-minded,
TOM: Or maybe, just maybe, it will mean that monopolistic control of the newscycle
by bloated corporations with business models stuck in the time of the Spanish-
American war will go under and we'll be able to experience a richer wider number
of perspectives that allow us to open our minds and gain greater understanding.
MOLLY: Well. You're wrong.
TOM: Well, YOU'RE wrong.
And there you have it. Open debate in a free society. And that?s the Buzz Report for
this week, everyone. I?m Molly Wood, and thanks for watching.