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PEJ Writes Up EPIC

OK, I wasn’t going to link to the State of the News Media 2005 report that’s been making the rounds, but then I took a look at the thing, and I saw that they start it off by describing EPIC:

In December 2004, a mock documentary about the future of news began making make the rounds of the nation’s journalists and Web professionals.

The video, produced by two aspiring newsmen fresh from college, envisioned a nightmare scenario – by the year 2014, technology would effectively destroy traditional journalism.

In 2008, Google, the search engine company, would merge with, the giant online retailer, and in 2010 the new “Googlezon” would create a system edited entirely by computers that would strip individual facts and sentences from all content sources to create stories tailored to the tastes of each person.

A year later, The New York Times would sue Googlezon for copyright infringement and lose before the Supreme Court.

In 2014 Googlezon would take its computer formula a step further. Anyone on the Web would contribute whatever they knew or believed into a universal grid – a bouillabaisse of citizen blog, political propaganda, corporate spin and journalism. People would be paid according to the popularity of their contributions. Each consumer would get a one-of-a-kind news product each day based on his or her personal data.

“At its best, edited for the savviest readers,” the system is “a summary of the world – deeper, broader and more nuanced than anything ever available before. But at its worst, and for too many, [it] is merely a collection of trivia, much of it untrue, all of it narrow, shallow and sensational.”

That same year, the New York Times would fold its tent and become “a print-only newsletter for the elite and the elderly.”

“It didn’t have to be this way,” the video concludes.

And it probably won’t be.

Ha! (Oh, and “bouillabaisse“? Best word ever.)


That totally rocks!! Go you!!

Holy shit!

Upon further reflection… please note that we got PEJ to use the word “Googlezon.”


The other day a friend of mine buzzed me on MSN, saying “here, take a look at this, you’ll like it”. It was a link to Epic. So I got to shoot back at him, “Seen it, and sort of know one of the guys who made it.” Now *that’s* awesome.

Sweet, rAchel! Dude, if you can ever win any brownie points, however minimal, by any sort of association with me, I give you full permission to do it. “Sort of know one of the guys”? Feel free to say we go way back, and invent crazy stories about that one trip we took together to Tijuana. And if we’re ever mixing company, I promise to back up said story.

Meanwhile, why do you suppose PEJ couldn’t say “EPIC”? Were they worried it would distract people, or that their audience would get it confused with the Electronic Privacy Information Center?

PEJ dared not speak the name aloud for fear it would summon the attention of the great fiery eye of Mordo– oh wait, sorry, different name.

P.S. I’m glad you’re cool w/ made-up stories about you and Tijuana ’cause I’ve been telling those for a looong time.

Sarah says…

I’ve stopped shortly to contribute my thoughts, I saw the video most recently which must have guided me to your blog via an uninhibited stream of clicking…

Compelling overall, a somewhat humerous look at our future. Interesting & thought provoking.

Media-watchers are afraid of news/information which has been manicured by a few powerful corporations at the top who channel their properties and ad revenues to create a hairy redundant wasteland in the media-scape

On the other hand, the video shows that bloggers, online communities etc. and amazon-like models combining to form a similar environment stemming from a grassroots level, but which parallels the condition of top-down media.

Besides suggesting that the 4th estate risks lossing freedoms through it’s commercial ventures, the Epic vid could also point a finger at the lack of formal journalistic training in the blogsphere. There should definitley be discussion about the changing role of journalistic integrity, considering that the Bush administration has recently PAID OFF two “real” journalists to play up stories. We have serious problems all around, and that probably won’t go away any time soon.

Although, the idea of motivated people being able to receive a commission based on the popularity of their contributions is not too unreasonable.

Rob Sample says…

Well, you’ve created a meme, cause I found you guys via a friend who emailed me the link to EPIC ( for those of you who haven’t seen it). It’s a chilling cautionary tale, and I applaud you for making it. But I curse you because I’ve blown half a day surfing your links (I LOVE minus Kelvin’s music, and I’m emailing him my props: Eno meets Blue Nile).

So, after EPIC, you two will have a hard time topping yourselves as Journalists, screenwriters, filmakers, whatever. I’m fwd’ing the link to some filmaker/animator/journalist friends of mine.

So the meme grows.

All the best,

Rob Sample

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