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Head of "The Times" Dismisses Wisdom of the Crowds


Newspapers are the best souces of trusted information on the web, argues the managing director of Times Newspaper. Speaking at at the Internet World conference in London on Tuesday, Paul Hayes dismissed that wisdom can originate from the collective output of a diverse, independent and decentralized community. He argues power is unlikely to shift between consumers and media owners - "Why Newspapers will Win on the Web".

"Some blogs are conversations among people you'd frankly prefer not to meet, others ar cries for help and their writers are clearly in need of therapy. Others are just people expressing themselves, which is an entirely honourable pursuit, but would you like to meet this geek on a dark night?"

Hayes continued to say

"Millions of blogs have sprung up over the last year, but a cursory search shows that the majority of their information sources lead back to mainstream media. The bloggers are seeking or delivering insight, but what they need is accurate information on whatever subject they're interested in. Time and again, bloggers draw their readers' attention to what they have read in papers, such as the Times."

He argues that established content creators like newspapers are best placed to provide authoritative bloggers. He continued to say

"Blogs will be a continuing part of content output, but only a relative few will be read beyond the narrowest of audiences. Most of them will disappear unnoticed, and frankly unmissed by the world."

Clearly, the wisdom of a collective does not exist in Mr Hayes' world; the madness of the crowd is the rule.

Extracting the Wisdom of the Crowds - The next generation of news aggregators

Mr Hayes is ignoring the success of the new online recommendation systems. By aggregating the recommendations of millions of people, the way Google does, these services extract top quality news and information from the millions of individual contributors that Mr Hayes is criticizing.

These lists of most popular blogger contributions are gaining huge readership as an alternate source of Trusted news. Aggregator sites like, slashdot.org, del.icio.us, digg.com, and technorati.com are experiecing explosive growth. The sites rival "The Times" Online in readership, and the news items come from millions of contributors.


Mr Hayes may be telling a different story next year, as the quality of the news and stories emerging from millions and millions of contributors take center stage.

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