It doesn’t happen too often…but I have to take issue with David Carr. As Ali pointed out, the Times’s Media Decoder, this morning, decoded Google’s new Fast Flip platform…and, after a series of intriguing points—many of them in the now-classic Print Metaphors Writ Digital vein—concluded: “Amid the entropy and calamity afflicting news providers, the outlines of what news in the future might look like are beginning to emerge.”
Well, that’s beautiful. And it’s true in the broadest sense: yes, the “outlines” of the future “are beginning to emerge.” Then again, Carr could have written that same sentence in 1929. Or 1959. Or 1989. Or…well, you get the idea. The news industry is always in flux; there has always been a “future of news”—vaguely shaped, and thus exhilarating and disquieting at the same time—trembling before us. Will Fast Flip—which seems, at best, a kind of cognitive pacifier, a platform to ease the sometimes painful transition from print to digital—be any kind of future of news? We can’t say for sure, obviously, but that seems…unlikely.
At this point, due respect to Carr, I have a reflexive distrust of the suggestion that any platform portends “the future of news.” The reality is that, right now, that future will be comprised of everything—and nothing—that currently exists.