Predicting the Hackopalypse
[![Clay Shirky](https://i1.wp.com/www.onemanandhisblog.com/content/images/2008/12/202px-Clay_Shirky.jpg?resize=202%2C135)](https://i0.wp.com/commons.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Clay_Shirky.jpg)Image via [Wikipedia](http://commons.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Clay_Shirky.jpg)Boing Boing ran an excellent post by Clay Shirky earlier in the week, pointing out that the current [apocalypse raging in the US newspaper industry was entirely predictable](http://www.boingboing.net/2008/12/08/the-newspaper-indust.html).
The argument is simple. The internet is primarily a technology that makes it easier to publish and distribute information, and that the result of such a process will be to drive down the value of information. This one simple fact is what too much of the publishing industry has failed to grasp, and it’s why we’re seeing such a dramatic effect on jobs and publishers, out of proportion with the economic downturn.
And we’ve known this was coming for over a decade. Shirky:> And once that became obvious, we said so, over and over again, all the time. We said it in public, we said it in private. We said it when newspapers hired us as designers, we said it when we were brought in as consultants, we said it for free. We were some tiresome motherfuckers with all our talk about the end of news on paper. And you know what? The people who made their living from printing the news listened, and then decided not to believe us. Well, now there’s abundant evidence of it in the US. In Europe, we have (at most) a few months now to really address the truth of this, to avoid suffering the same fate.
2009 is going to be a hard year for journalism. But it needn’t be the last year for it.
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Adam has been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 25. He currently works as a consultant and trainer, helping people do better, more engaged online journalism.