What is a bar? The obvious answer is that it is place that sells drinks. Wrong. Pubs and bars are not about drinking, they are all about – wait for it – process facilitation. A bar is simply an infrastructure or environment created to extract commercial value from the fact that people want to socialise and swap information. The drinks bit is simply the mechanic devised to extract value.
If news organisations are to survive they similarly need to recognise – in the same way a successful bar realises it is not in the business of selling drink – they are not in the business of selling news, but in creating environments within which people will want to share information. The issue of course is that this is like a bar where people bring their own drinks – so what is the mechanic that can extract value from provision of this environment?
If I really thought I knew the answer to that, I probably wouln’t be wasting time writting this blog. However, to take a stab at it, and further stretch the value of the analogy, it has to lie in either an entry charge, or selling nibbles.