Wednesday, January 10, 2007

So I had this idea

One of the things I like to do in my real job is to figure out how people consume information vs. how we -- the media -- give it to people. The two are quite often not the same. Surely the recent decline of the newspaper industry has told us that.

In the '80s, I used to preach the downfall of commercial radio news to various broadcast groups with the theme, "who killed radio news? Radio newspeople." Since I was speaking to radio newspeople, that usually didn't go over big. And I'd love to tell them all "I told you so," except they're, you know, extinct. I imagine 20 years from now, nobody will be able to gloat to a polar bear, "you know, you probably shouldn't have gotten use to living on an ice flow." But I digress.

If you want to see people roll their eyes in a newsroom, propose this idea: Fantasy Legislature. It's based on the same principle as fantasy baseball and fantasy football. People build teams of real legislators and earn points from what they really do.

This was tried last year with Fantasy Congress, but I didn't really like the interface. And it also allowed people in the same league to "own" the same lawmaker. That's dumb. Plus it doesn't do what I think Fantasy Legislature could do. And that is, give people actual news content, but in the form of a game, because that's how people are consuming information now and the age of radio newscasts pontificating and pronouncing as if it was a tablet from Moses is over. (Shhhhhhh!)

I think it was a good idea. Newspeople didn't much care for it, but that's only because part of a newsroom's nature is to chisel tablets. But the farther you go from the core of the newsroom... the more enthusiasm within my core media company developed. That should tell us all something.

Maybe that's changing, because apparently the idea has gotten some notice.

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