Why Drupal? (Knight Foundation, part three)

10 March 2008

While we were all off having a good time at DrupalCON, there was a Knight Digital Media Center conference going on at the University of Southern California.

The initial topic of the day -- setting the stage for the rest -- was covered by Amy Gahran at Poynter. Michael Williams of the University of Maryland introduced some Zogby polling data about the trend towards digital news consumption -- and its adverse effect on the traditional media industry. Go read Amy's notes, I won't rehash them here. But I will pull this quote from the Zogby report:

"Americans recognize the value of journalism for their communities, and they are unsatisfied with what they see. While the U.S. news industry sheds expenses and frets about its future, Americans are dismayed by its present. Meanwhile, we see clearly the generational shift of digital natives from traditional to online news - so the challenge for traditional news companies is complex. They need to invest in new products and services - and they have. But they've also got to invest in quality, influence and impact. They need to invest in journalism that makes a difference in people's lives. That's a moral and leadership challenge - and a business opportunity for whoever can meet it." -- Andrew Nachison, co-founder of iFOCOS

The Knight Foundation announcement at DrupalCON was about this: getting more people involved in re-creating the business of journalism, so that communities can be made stronger.

One of the challenges to Drupal, by the way, is to determine where (or if?) we fit into the larger ecosystem of digital news innovation.