Christian Science Monitor editor John Yemma has some sharp observations about the demise of Encarta, the struggles of Encyclopedia Britannica and the dominance of Wikipedia. And he argues that there’s a cautionary tale for the news media therein:
If all the big newspapers at once adopted a pay model, some upstart would come along and use a small group of journalists and a larger group of Wikipedia-like amateurs to build a multimedia newspaper. Like Wikipedia, it would be the butt of countless jokes about unreliability.
Maybe it would even report on its own unreliability. But it would grow stronger because it would be organically constituted on the World Wide Web. That’s the power of open-source knowledge.
And that’s the challenge the news media face as they dive into the Internet.
This, of course, is week one of the Monitor’s Web-mostly existence, as the daily print edition has given way to a 24/7 Web site and a weekly magazine. (Via Jeff Jarvis.)