The idea that the Internet is the playground for the young is wrong, I think.
They may Twitter and Facebook and YouTube, but blogging is not their sole
domain. Nobody will call Arianna Huffington, Lawrence Lessig, Jeff Jarvis, Dave
Winer or Andrew Sullivan young. Robert Scoble is 43, Om Malik 41, Michael
Arrington 38, Josh Marshall 39, Markos Moulitsas 36, Heather Armstrong 33, still
young but hardly fresh-faced. They have been around: that's what gives them
perspective. They can relate the present to the past. That's why they can write
or blog with authority.
Age and experience count. The New York Times did not put a young geek in
charge of breaking and updating news online. That's the job of an old pro. David
Stout, domestic correspondent for the surreally named Continuous News Desk, has
been a journalist for 43 years. Having graduated with a degree in English from
Notre Dame in 1964, he must be in his 60s. It's his job to write and edit
breaking domestic stories at the "speed of write", as one of the subheads
beautifully puts it. The New York Times doesn't worry whether he will develop
arthritis on the job. It knows he has the knowledge and experience to flesh out
stories faster. Things the young will have to research to find out he will be
able to recall from memory and put together easily because he will be covering
old ground and know where to look for what. It's the story of the tortoise and the
hare. The tortoise can finish faster.
The people at the Straits Times should read the New York Times Newsroom Talk with the Continuous News Correspondent. That may
help the Singapore newspaper update stories faster and keep the content fresher
on its redesigned website.