It’s official! News is dead. Well, not dead, but transformed into a state nearly unrecognizable from its previous incarnation. “News” is no longer be about writers and journalists, but about editors and aggregators. And also, of course, You (the You who was Time’s person of the year a while back).

If there is a catastrophe or phenomenon in a small town in some country somewhere, there’s no real reason to send a “reporter” there to  separate the true from the rumors. There are already reporters on the ground. Millions of uncredentialed and biased reporters.

Social networks, with no barrier to join or participate, are the new points of information. News organizations are now (officially!) collecting tweets and blogposts and sorting through the information to serve up as news.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, by the way.

Really, social networks are merely a new data-collecting source and the editors, acting as gatekeepers, will be the new  journalists. They will come with their own view points, their own biases, their own corporate owners, their own conflicts and all their own drama. Basically it will be as it is now.

One of the most forward-thinking media entities has actually been CNN. And they have been the most explicit about embracing this new state of news. This was most explicit with their recent coverage of the earthquake in Haiti:

What we’re hearing via social media – CNN.com.

Even Mashable was reporting on the various pictures of devistation coming in via Twitter. This was a level of immediacy unthinkable even five years ago.

Inevitably, there will be the time when a MSM entity will be fooled (or outright dooped). Someone will figure out a way to make a phenomenon look like it’s happening and it will find its way into a major news venue. But misinformation worms its way through now. As long as there are multiple and competing editors and sources, the journalistic status quo will survive.

P.S. If you text “Haiti” to 90999 $10 will be given to the Red Cross for disaster relief and added to your phone bill. (via whitehouse.gov) I did.