Buzz Machine’s Jeff Jarvis has a piece about how newspaper companies suck at a lot of the technical stuff they do, and should consider outsourcing that to companies like Google who know what they’re doing.
Though I don’t agree with the sentiment that newspapers should get out of the printing business (yes it’s expensive, but newspapers are highly qualified to do it), I can’t help but agree about the technology stuff. A quick comparison of any media website’s proprietary hacked-together, flash-based video viewing system and something simple like YouTube and you wonder why they even bother.
So why don’t media companies take advantage of sites like YouTube and Flickr? They’re cheaper, they function better, and they provide a much wider audience for content.
The answer is, sadly, that it represents a loss of control. Newspaper websites want 100% of the ad revenue, even if they’re bleeding through the nose on IT staff to keep their own video portals running. They don’t trust YouTube and Flickr (even if some of their own journalists make liberal use of those sites when management isn’t looking).
That’s a mentality that needs to change. Either news websites’ content management systems need to improve drastically, or they should abandon them and use off-the-shelf systems that have proven popular.
Believe me, I had to deal for years with a hacked-together CMS (that I myself chose and installed) at a student newspaper. Killing all that work is painful, but it needs to be done.