The future’s so bright …

Michael Hirschorn has an interesting take on the future of journalism in general, and the New York Times in particular. But I have one small quibble with this:

The best journalists will survive, and eventually thrive. Some will be snapped up by an expanding HuffPo (which is raising millions while its print competitors tank) and by the inevitable competitors that will spring up to imitate its business model, or even by smaller outlets, like Talking Points Memo, which have found that keeping their overhead low allows them to profit from high-quality journalism.

I don’t know if this is true of TPM, but the reason the HuffPo’s business model works so well is that they don’t pay contributors, and have publicly stated that they have no intention of doing so. It’s easy not to be burdened with all the expenses of running a journalistic enterprise if you don’t pay journalists. But maybe this is the future of citizen journalism: former reporters will support themselves working at fast food joints and Wal Mart, while pursuing journalism as a sort of wonderful hobby.

Good luck with that.

As my friend John McCrea says, information wants to be free, but rent wants to be paid. Hard to say how that conflict gets resolved, but the future is rushing up fast.