Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Scoopt shuts down, Pajamas Media quits blogs

Two upheavals in the citizen-generated media world: Scoopt, which sold "amateur" pics to news agencies is shutting down and right-wing blog network Pajamas Media is shuttering its blogging arm in favor of Pajamas TV (a talking-head video franchise)

Scoopt was the first agency to sell citizen generated photo-journalism. Scoopt gave owners of sold photos 40% of what they made and held a 12-month exclusivity on photos. Founder Kyle MacRae says Scoopt was the first agency to "monetise citizen journalism"--not sure of that claim when it comes to print, but they may indeed have been the first to pay for citizen-generate news photos (London bombing photos being the first.) Scoopt was purchased by Getty Images, so it makes me wonder if Getty Images is planning to accept "citizen" photo-journalism directly from citizens. If Getty moves in this direction, will they pay for the photos, and what sort of terms will they have on exclusivity?

Meanwhile, Pajamas Media really is stabbing right-wing bloggers where they live--sadly--and putting its efforts into Pajamas TV. I saw the Pajamas TV people pitching pretty heavily in the exhibitors' hall at BlogWorld Expo, but had no idea they'd be shutting down their blogs in favor of the video end of things. Pam Gellar at Atlas Shrugs, an original PJM blogger registers deep frustration:
I was one of the original pajama bloggers. I thought PJM was going to rival AP, UPI, Reuters. Finally, a news portal of citizen bloggers and journalists that would counter the Pali stringers and left wing biased journalists of the news gathering agencies. But PJM went off the rails. Simon decided to chase big names for big money, but to what end? Who needed another NRO or WSJ Best of the Web? And unlike the left, where Soros, Hollywood libtards and Google-type asshats embarrassingly fund the leftwing sites vis a vis Moveon.org et al, the right has none of that. None. We live on fumes. G-d bless our small advertisers and our readers who contribute.

And Ann Althouse raises some important points about video:must say, I can barely stand to watch any political talking heads TV shows, even on network TV and cable TV. I just have no patience waiting for people to say something that I could read in 1/10 the time. . ." True! very true! Ann then notes Instapundit's remarks re Pajamas TV, and wonders "But do you want to watch him on web TV?

For me, Instapundit was always a quick read--and most interesting for the links he gave to lesser-known bloggers. How does linking translate into video? It doesn't!

Linking aside, IMO, moving to an all-video platform this is a *really* stupid move, as not everyone wants to be doing video. Not everyone has the face for video. The old saying used to be "you have a face for radio." Well, in new media, you could have a "face for blogs" without having to go into the video space.

And not everyone has the time to sit and listen to a talking head--let alone find a way to reference a talking head to comment on said talking head's prattle.

So, while there were never enough catastrophes to help keep Scoopt afloat, the collapse of Pajamas seems to be predicated on mismanagement. I hate to see anything shut down, but we are indeed in a time of experimentation, and we are learning as we go along. As Scoopt's MacRae wrote in a piece for the Press-Gazette in 2006: "The trouble with any start-up, especially a dotcom start-up in a brand new media space, is that you don't know any of the answers before you have to sell your house to find out."

There are lessons to be learned from both Scoopt and Pajamas' closings--but the lesson isn't that "citizen journalism doesn't work," as I'm sure old media would like to say. It's more that we are in a transition, and that we haven't found the right business model yet for new media any more than we have for old media like newspapers and TV (which is also having its problems with a failing business model.)

It would be nice if someone would do a post-mortem on Scoopt and Pajamas. Would be interesting to hear the lessons learned from folks in the know....

Just a thought...

(hat tip to @gmarkham for the Scoopt scoop)

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