The Neiman Journalism Lab at Harvard is running a nice 2011-ending series on what the next year will look like for journalism, by an esteemed fleet of think-piecers who've braved this rocky field for the last few.
You've got plenty of your usual fare: Social media is everything! Commenter is king! Down with the paywalls! Apps! Apps! Apps!
But one prediction in particular is crazy uncharacteristic of that crowd. University of Washington-bred media man Rex Sorgatz, now a full-fledged New Yorker, is biting the bullet and giving some pre-emptive kudos to Los Angeles, which he has dubbed “the future” of new media.
It's blasphemy, of course, for Sorgatz to even acknowledge L.A.'s existence as something more than a kitschy projection of Instagram palm trees/cement cultural wasteland trying blindly to Manhattanize but coming up megagym monstrosity.
Sure, he spends the entire first section of “LA is the future (kill me now)” wildly disclaiming any possible ties one might draw between his 2012 tech predictions for Los Angeles and his personal opinion of the place.
“I hate the things that are too cliché to even mention hating: their tans, their cars, their smog,” Sorgatz writes. But he does mention them — and many more — because being called cliche, in New York, is still far superior than being called an L.A. sympathizer.
Eventually, though, he gets to the goods.
In a nutshell (and do correct us, sir @fimoculous, if we've misinterpreted): With the extinction of every dinosauric type of media springs up a new opportunity for digital-era entrepreneurs. The first rebirth of this kind was in Silicon Valley, with the dot-com bubble. And the second was in New York, when the 2008 economic collapse triggered a “tech startup scene” that conglomerated “finance, media, and retail” into “unique reinventions of those industries.”
Next up, according to Sorgatz, is the toppling of the clunky television industry, and a flurry of young creatives rushing to rebuild.
“When the collapse hits, capital will rush out of the traditional entertainment industry faster than you can say “Lehman Brothers.” And, as in New York, talented young people with industry awareness will be there to grab that capital and create new businesses. That's when things will get interesting. Just as New York — against all odds — became the locus of traditional business being disrupted by technology, Los Angeles will erupt with creativity around the collision of technology and entertainment. New forms of content — programming that isn't bound by 13 episodes that are 22 minutes long! — will appear overnight. The disruption will be challenging at first, but a Video Renaissance will emerge.”
Angry commenters on his piece (quite obviously based in L.A.) argue that said renaissance has already begun — and that New York is just too self-centered to see it.
Then there are the San Francisco loyals, arguing that their fair fogged-down city is, in fact, the future. But Sorgatz stands his ground:
Crap. We've always relied on our abysmal national reputation (and impermeable layer of smog) to keep the glorious Wild West underbelly of this entertainment capital a secret. Looks like the think-piecers just thunk their way into the reason we've been here all along.