There is an online trend towards giving an idea away for free. A journalist or a thinker comes up with a great idea, but rather than implement it too see if it works in practice, they just ask someone else to do it for them. Recent examples include Jay Rosen’s ‘A Simple Fix for the Messed Up Sunday Shows‘ and Michael Skoler’s ‘Hot New Revenue For News‘. To be clear, this attitude is something I applaud: It is the business equivalent of giving your photos an extremely permissive Creative Commons licence.
It is also in the tradition of Jorge Luis Borges. He would to write reviews of books he wanted other people to write, of near-impossible novels he imagined. The danger, of course, is that we all end up writing the reviews, coming up with new ideas… and no-one puts them into practice. Rosen’s fact-checking idea for the Sunday Shows has become a popular intervention in the discussion around the future of News… but has anyone actually implemented it yet?