Scott Karp is thinking about newspapers and blogging ...
. . . maybe what newspapers should become in the digital media era is a network of local bloggers — some of whom are staff writers and some of whom are freelancers. Maybe most of them are freelancers. Maybe the full-time reporters are dedicated to beats local governments, which require more time-intensive reporting to fulfill the Fourth Estate mission, but which can be supplemented by freelance reporting.
I'm not sure that blogs are the ONLY organizing principle for newspapers’ original online content, but they are certainly a key one, one that has been able to develop audiences.
Blogging is about more than writing -- or reporting and writing in some cases -- so freelancers who grasp the blogosphere ecosystem would certainly do better than fulltime writers who don't. Most newspaper writers right now don't get it.
Karp is not just throwing another hand grenade at mainstream newspapers. His model of how newsrooms will be "staffed" or news will be covered is along the same trajectory that newsrooms are already exploding, whether they realize it or not.
These are challenging, changing times. And Karp may have put it best in responding to a comment on his post when he says:
The key challenge for newspapers is figuring out how to continue to both create and aggregate a robust supply of local content when they ultimately cease to publish in print.
The day may not be too far off when people wonder why they call them "newspapers."
Update: Mathew Ingram thinks this is a good idea, too.