Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I didn't know Bob Guskind. I went to his memorial service on Saturday afternoon in Park Slope thinking about the future of media in Brooklyn and was touched by the service. He made a difference in the lives of scores of people who spoke eloquently during the service. Many of them had never met Guskind personally but had written or taken photographs for his blog, Gowanus Lounge. Guskind had the ability to champion small blogs and stories, lifting them out of obscurity and dropping them into the cacauphony of cyperspace chatter. These writers felt relevant, exploring neighborhood subjects that newspapers sometimes miss in a new and evolving medium. And they are relevant. Reporters would often swoop through Gowanus Lounge to pick up interesting stories to pour into the news cycle. Guskind's death will certainly leave an enormous void in local news coverage in Brooklyn, but the number of blogs is growing. Finding a financial model to sustain online journalism as more readers are shifting to the Internet for their news coverage remains a significant challenge and a greater worry. We may be in the age of fraudcast news, or at least the last 30 seconds of that Simpsons episode where all the characters start printing their own newspaper. Some of us are already there.