“These guys don’t get it. I’ve got to get out. I’m just wasting my time.”

Newsosaur passes along this quote as part of a comment about the continued failure of commercial/mainstream/traditional media to make good on the promise of the Internet:

As if the mainstream media didn’t have enough trouble navigating the uncharted realm of digital innovation, they are losing many of the young, technologically astute employees who could be their guides.

“What am I doing here?” a talented young designer and programmer working at a publishing company asked me recently. “These guys don’t get it. I’ve got to get out. I’m just wasting my time.”

The problem, according to Newsosaur, is that the “net natives” employed by media companies — those members of a younger generation that grew up amidst the current outpouring of convergent media technology, and who presumably find its use as natural as breathing — are too low on the managerial totem pole to have any positive influence on media strategy.

This is exciting and validating to anyone who’s resigned from a sexy “new media” job after repeatedly hitting the brick wall of senior management.

However, merely “getting it” doesn’t make one bound for success — at least not in this economy.

HotWired “got it” — or at least they reveled in the glamour and potential of the Internet in its first moments of unfolding — and they are as thoroughly dead and gone as the dodo. So dead and gone, their URL (www.hotwired.com) doesn’t even take you to a legacy site, but rather to wretchedly utilitarian, monetized search engine with nary a glimmer of digirati joi de vivre.

I look at SFGate (my resignation from which has already been tediously documented in these pages), and as a mass-media outlet, they are successful.

They “get it” in that they are learning how to monetize the Web. Great. But they are not innovators, at least not in the news department. It’s all Sunday magazine fare with a lot of ad colonization.

Merely “getting” the Web — for example, understanding that it is capable of depth and context as well as instant updates and byte-sized overview, or that it encourages a type of mutuality that ensures accountability between producer and consumer, and indeed blurs the line between the two — guarantees one nothing at all.

Newsdesk.org’s singular challenge has been translating the fact that we “get it” into something people want to give money too.

It is telling that our support is, in that regard, primarily from small, individual donors, rather than large grantmaking institutions.

LIke the large media institutions, the big grantmakers mostly don’t “get it” either — an exception may be the Knight Foundation — or, they only get the parts that fit in with their big/centralized/corporatized worldview.

In the end, “getting” the Internet as much about the VALUES of the news producer and her or his ability to connect to an appropriate support structure, as it is about one’s savvy use of technology to tell a story and engage a community.

Meanwhile, until we build alternatives, we are stuck with the systems currently in existence. As Newsosaur himself notes:

Like the others quoted in this article, the young journalist is not being named, so as to protect his livelihood until he bails out of his MSM job.

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