The iPad hasn’t even lost its new-car smell yet and we’re already seeing the chilling effect it can have on independent journalism. Perhaps a few people were blinded by optimism at first, but by now reality ought to have set in: Whoever controls the platform controls the flow of content.
In Old Media terms, it’s like if some other company controlled your printing press.
Don’t get me wrong—the iPad is an amazing device that could be used to do amazing things for journalism. But when it comes down to it, none of the journalists fawning over it have final say over what goes into it.
Journalists need to take back control of their content and the flow of their news by innovating. If they don’t have the money to come up with their own devices, they should look toward optimizing their mobile sites. If they don’t have the money or savvy to do that, they should look to embed themselves into devices that already exist on the iPad—think of using the social stream as a sort of guerilla journalism.
Whatever journalists do, they can’t just sit back and wait for some corporate savior to come along with a miracle device. Experimentation, failure and correction are the only things that can “save journalism.”