Slashdot vs. Digg vs. News

Okay, let’s sum things up. There is the site, Slashdot which I read quite a bit. Then there is the newer site, Digg which I also read quite a bit. Then there are traditional news sources like, SF Gate, Associated Press, and even BBC News which the first two I read less of and the last I still read a bit.
These are all sites that distribute information on the web. Slashdot and Digg definitely have a more targeted audience in the tech/geek crowd, when traditional news sources are more general in their scope. So, how do Slashdot and Digg compare to the Old News? They kick its ass. They deliver their articles faster, are more interactive, and are probably the way of the future. Traditional news is still stuck in a print cycle setup for the most part. They don’t want to trounce their subscription model for the papers they sell, so they cannibalize their online systems. They’re slow at getting the news to you. Some will claim this is because they are more reliable, but as many recent items show, this is not the case, since they don’t fact check like they used to (maybe they never did?) Then it also all boils down to the fact that a newspaper is pretty much led by one person and their attitudes direct what is published. Just look at Fox “News” and see the result. There is no democracy in traditional media and it all comes from a top-down direction which IMHO does not work.
So, let’s look at Digg. Here is a site where people in the web public submit articles and then others on the site “digg” them to elect them higher in the searches for the site. I’ve seen articles submitted and elected to the front page in a little as 15 minutes! It’s a pretty instantaneous form of publication and news. The downside is that safeguards had to be built in to stop stupidity. These work quite well. There are however some articles that still make it to the top which probably shouldn’t be there.
This brings us to the other alternative, Slashdot. This site has been around for years. It’s a much more moderated system, but as far as I know, users can submit stories in for consideration. It moves at a slower pace and an article that pops up on Digg make take 24 hours to appear on Slashdot if it’s worthy. But, I feel that this time lapse is good. The articles on Slashdot tend to be better suited for mass distribution. While you don’t get that instant gratification effect you get on Digg, you do get good stories that appear about 3-5 days ahead of traditional media, unless of course they broke on a traditional site, which does happen.
As you can tell, my preference is for Slashdot overall. People said that Digg was the Slashdot-killer, but I don’t think that will happen. Just like I don’t think that the old media sources will ever go away because they, unlike standard periodical print media, somewhat understand how the networks need to function. They get that a site like Craigslist has killed their classifieds and the only way to stay around is to be ahead of the curb. As shown with the suits against Napster of old, suing does nothing but raise peoples’ awareness in what you are trying to stop. Digital is here and it’s time to get used to it.