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风投大佬取代媒体,是福是祸?

风投大佬取代媒体,是福是祸?

骆杰峰(Jeff John Roberts), David Z.Morris 2021年01月26日
a16z之所以要自己做媒体,其中一个原因是它有能力。

只要你对硅谷或加密货币有那么一点了解,就很可能听说过安德森•霍洛维茨基金(Andreessen Horowitz),这可是科技领域里最知名的风投公司之一。圈里人称其为a16z。该公司之所以出名,部分原因是它投资了Facebook、Coinbase和其他一些大名鼎鼎的公司,还因为它擅长吸引(以及左右)媒体之道。

因此,听说a16z在打造一个媒体帝国也就不足为奇了。具体细节正在一点一点流出,但简而言之,a16z在花了十年时间通过鸡尾酒会培养和记者们的关系之后,决定不再需要他们了。该公司正在招聘一支属于自己的大型编辑团队,以积极的基调报道有关加密货币、金融科技和其他主题的故事。

a16z之所以要自己做媒体,其中一个原因是它有能力。过去,企业需要依靠《纽约时报》(New York Times)之类的媒体让公众了解自己的故事。这些出版物(包括《财富》杂志在内)实际上垄断了报纸和杂志等新闻传播的通道。互联网打破了这种垄断,一开始速度不快,但随着推特(Twitter)、Medium和Substack等平台的出现,垄断被加速打破。

a16z弃用传统媒体的另一个重要原因是,正如科技界的许多公司一样,在a16z看来,媒体无知又不公平。这些批评人士说,记者们从不赞扬科技改变生活的诸多方式,而是专注于负面报道,为了服务自己的议题,极尽攻击诋毁。这些高科技公司还会说,记者们总是轻松发表文章,哪怕他们根本不知道自己在写什么。那么,最好还是把写文章的权利留给知道自己在写什么的人,比如a16z的合伙人和他们的写手。

那么,我们应该怎么看待此事?不出所料,许多记者对a16z的举动感到恐惧厌恶,说他们进军媒体仅仅是为了宣传,而不是做“真正的”新闻。这其中有一部分是酸葡萄心理。记者们总是自视甚高,他们在批评a16z等公司试图和他们做切割时,可能只是在哀叹权力和威望的丧失。

虽然批评a16z的动机很容易,但要抨击他们的内容却很难。我一直在阅读该公司的金融科技通讯,不得不承认它们做得非常出色:复杂精妙、消息灵通、文字清晰。这种情况下,也许我们应该赞扬而非批评。毕竟,他们发布的信息是免费的,而且非常有用——比那些被称为“真正”新闻的标题党垃圾要好。

但是,尽管我十分欣赏高质量的内容,但一想到a16z的媒体影响力会超过《纽约时报》或《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal),我就不寒而栗。因为就像硅谷在许多其他领域的做法一样,这些新崛起的媒体大亨看上去想得到财富和荣耀,却不愿意承担颠覆并日益主导整个行业的责任。

据报道,a16z的创始人厌倦了主流媒体中越来越多反对科技的声音,这点可以理解。硅谷尽管存在缺陷,但它创造出的技术仍然是解决疾病、污染和贫困等全球性问题的最大希望。但同时,科技行业也加剧了从虚假信息到不平等等一系列其他问题,一刀切地采取支持科技的立场显然不负责任。

然后是“真相对权力的影响”,a16z的一位内部人士最近用这句话向我表明,新闻业的理想古怪又天真。我不同意。上个世纪,传统媒体大无畏地对抗强权的企业和总统,在法庭上为言论自由而战,还有个别记者为了保护消息源而锒铛入狱。为了自由民主社会的正常运转,这些活动必不可少。但从目前来看,a16z似乎没有兴趣参与。

从这个意义上说,a16z的媒体野心让我想起了加密货币行业——该公司也正试图占据这个行业的主导地位。比特币信徒会告诉你,比特币及相关行业的意义在于自由,在于逃离政府和大银行的控制。哪怕这么说有些道理,但对于如何帮助数百万在饥饿、失业和医疗缺失中挣扎的美国人,加密行业却几乎闭口不谈。我担心,如果被追问这个问题,他们的回答恐怕是:“这和我无关。”(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

只要你对硅谷或加密货币有那么一点了解,就很可能听说过安德森•霍洛维茨基金(Andreessen Horowitz),这可是科技领域里最知名的风投公司之一。圈里人称其为a16z。该公司之所以出名,部分原因是它投资了Facebook、Coinbase和其他一些大名鼎鼎的公司,还因为它擅长吸引(以及左右)媒体之道。

因此,听说a16z在打造一个媒体帝国也就不足为奇了。具体细节正在一点一点流出,但简而言之,a16z在花了十年时间通过鸡尾酒会培养和记者们的关系之后,决定不再需要他们了。该公司正在招聘一支属于自己的大型编辑团队,以积极的基调报道有关加密货币、金融科技和其他主题的故事。

a16z之所以要自己做媒体,其中一个原因是它有能力。过去,企业需要依靠《纽约时报》(New York Times)之类的媒体让公众了解自己的故事。这些出版物(包括《财富》杂志在内)实际上垄断了报纸和杂志等新闻传播的通道。互联网打破了这种垄断,一开始速度不快,但随着推特(Twitter)、Medium和Substack等平台的出现,垄断被加速打破。

a16z弃用传统媒体的另一个重要原因是,正如科技界的许多公司一样,在a16z看来,媒体无知又不公平。这些批评人士说,记者们从不赞扬科技改变生活的诸多方式,而是专注于负面报道,为了服务自己的议题,极尽攻击诋毁。这些高科技公司还会说,记者们总是轻松发表文章,哪怕他们根本不知道自己在写什么。那么,最好还是把写文章的权利留给知道自己在写什么的人,比如a16z的合伙人和他们的写手。

那么,我们应该怎么看待此事?不出所料,许多记者对a16z的举动感到恐惧厌恶,说他们进军媒体仅仅是为了宣传,而不是做“真正的”新闻。这其中有一部分是酸葡萄心理。记者们总是自视甚高,他们在批评a16z等公司试图和他们做切割时,可能只是在哀叹权力和威望的丧失。

虽然批评a16z的动机很容易,但要抨击他们的内容却很难。我一直在阅读该公司的金融科技通讯,不得不承认它们做得非常出色:复杂精妙、消息灵通、文字清晰。这种情况下,也许我们应该赞扬而非批评。毕竟,他们发布的信息是免费的,而且非常有用——比那些被称为“真正”新闻的标题党垃圾要好。

但是,尽管我十分欣赏高质量的内容,但一想到a16z的媒体影响力会超过《纽约时报》或《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal),我就不寒而栗。因为就像硅谷在许多其他领域的做法一样,这些新崛起的媒体大亨看上去想得到财富和荣耀,却不愿意承担颠覆并日益主导整个行业的责任。

据报道,a16z的创始人厌倦了主流媒体中越来越多反对科技的声音,这点可以理解。硅谷尽管存在缺陷,但它创造出的技术仍然是解决疾病、污染和贫困等全球性问题的最大希望。但同时,科技行业也加剧了从虚假信息到不平等等一系列其他问题,一刀切地采取支持科技的立场显然不负责任。

然后是“真相对权力的影响”,a16z的一位内部人士最近用这句话向我表明,新闻业的理想古怪又天真。我不同意。上个世纪,传统媒体大无畏地对抗强权的企业和总统,在法庭上为言论自由而战,还有个别记者为了保护消息源而锒铛入狱。为了自由民主社会的正常运转,这些活动必不可少。但从目前来看,a16z似乎没有兴趣参与。

从这个意义上说,a16z的媒体野心让我想起了加密货币行业——该公司也正试图占据这个行业的主导地位。比特币信徒会告诉你,比特币及相关行业的意义在于自由,在于逃离政府和大银行的控制。哪怕这么说有些道理,但对于如何帮助数百万在饥饿、失业和医疗缺失中挣扎的美国人,加密行业却几乎闭口不谈。我担心,如果被追问这个问题,他们的回答恐怕是:“这和我无关。”(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

If you have even a passing familiarity with Silicon Valley or cryptocurrency, you've likely heard of Andreessen Horowitz, one of tech's highest-profile venture capital firms. The firm, which tech insiders call a16z, is famous in part because of its investments—Facebook, Coinbase and other familiar names—but also because of its mastery at charming (and manipulating) the media.

So perhaps it's no surprise that a16z is building a media empire. The details are still trickling out, but the short version is that, after a decade of cultivating journalists over intimate cocktail affairs, the firm has decided it no longer needs them. Instead, a16z is hiring a large editorial team to cover stories about crypto, fintech and other topics with an upbeat slant.

One reason that a16z became a media outlet is because it can. Once, companies needed to rely on the likes of the New York Times to get their stories out to the public. Those publications, including Fortune, had a virtual monopoly on information because they controlled the bundles—aka newspapers and magazines—through which news got distributed. The Internet blew up that monopoly, slowly at first, and then rapidly once platforms like Twitter, Medium and Substack came on the scene.

The other big reason a16z has turned its back on traditional media is because the firm, like many in the tech world, regards the press as ignorant and unfair. Instead of hailing the many ways tech is changing our lives, these critics say journalists fixate on negative stories, pursuing hit pieces and takedowns that serve their own agenda. What's more, a16z and others would add, reporters are prone to publishing pieces even if they don't know what they're talking about. It's better, then, to leave it to those—like the partners at a16z and their scribes—who do.

So what should we make of all this? Unsurprisingly, many reporters are recoiling at what a16z is doing, claiming its media ambitions are simply propaganda and not "real" journalism. Part of this is sour grapes. Journalists are prone to self-importance and, in criticizing the push by a16z and others to cut them off, they may simply be lamenting a loss of power and prestige.

And while it's easy to knock a16z's motives, it's hard to bash the stuff they are publishing. I've been reading the company's fintech newsletters and have to concede they're excellent: sophisticated, well-informed and crisply written. If this is the case, perhaps our impulse should be to praise rather than criticize the company. After all, the information they're publishing is free and useful—and better than a lot of the clickbait dreck that passes for much of "real" journalism these days.

And yet. As much as I appreciate high-caliber content, I shudder at the prospect of a world where a16z carries more media clout than the Times or the Wall Street Journal. As is the case with so much else in Silicon Valley, this new class of media barons appears to want the money and the glory, but not the responsibility that comes with disrupting, and increasingly dominating, entire industries.

The founders of a16z are reportedly sick of the growing chorus of anti-tech voices in mainstream media, and that's understandable. Silicon Valley, despite its flaws, still creates the technology that offers the best hope for alleviating global problems like disease, pollution and poverty. But the tech industry has exacerbated a host of other problems, from disinformation to inequality, and simply adopting a pro-tech vision feels irresponsible.

Then there is the "truth to power thing"—a phrase an a16z insider recently used to suggest to me that the ideals of journalism are quaint or naive. I disagree. In the last century, traditional media institutions have been fearless in standing up to powerful businesses and Presidents, fighting in court for free speech while individual journalists have gone to jail to protect their sources. Such activities are essential to the functioning of a free democracy. And for now, it appears a16z is not interested in taking part in them.

In this sense, a16z's media ambitions remind me of the cryptocurrency industry—a field the firm is also trying to dominate. Many Bitcoin believers will tell you the currency and the industry around it are about freedom and escaping the power of government and big banks. And while there's something to that, few in the crypto industry have much to say about how to help the millions of Americans struggling with hunger, unemployment and lack of healthcare. I worry that, if pressed, their response would be "it's not my problem."

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