Assignment #4 The state of journalism today
Farewell black ink and recycled paper thumping at the sidewalk. You were almost always there. Almost everyday of the week.
I remember the bad times in our relationship. Me: fast asleep in bed. You: Being carried by the crazy delivery man with his extra loud Walkman and insistence on walking in a straight line right next to all the houses on the block. Me: Now awake at 5 a.m. and angry because I like to sleep.
Oh we had our moments. I remember reading all of your pages on lazy Sundays and I even taught my dog Snowflake to fetch you once. But its just not enough anymore.
It is not you. It is me. See I want more.
To be honest I think we both knew this relationship wasn’t to last. See I was too poor to get you delivered in college and really what was the point? I could get the exact same information online for free and not have to waste time flipping past the society pages and stories I wasn’t interested in.
The web crushed your chances with me. There was no way you could compete with the sheer diversity offered to readers online. And more and more readers are going online, away from you to find news that is relevant to their lives.
Still it is hard to see you struggling. And even harder to see how people plan on saving you. Still searching for answers? See more on why we should move on here. It’s over and now I’m moving on to talk about what these problems mean and why they are happening.
Clearly these changes in the industry have huge impacts on journalists. Many traditional news outlet journalists have just lost their jobs or are dearly clinging on in hopes of not losing their jobs.
“According to Gannett, more than 2,000 positions will be cut across the company’s 85 daily papers. This follows consolidations that nixed about 100 newspaper managers this fall and another 1,000 Gannett jobs through layoffs, attrition and buyouts. Hundreds of these employees are journalists.
Amazingly, in 2008 alone, an estimated 14,000 people have lost their jobs at newspapers through buyouts and layoffs. There are predictions that by 2010, several cities may be without a daily newspaper,” said NABJ
So the question everyone is asking is how can we preserve this ancient newspaper business model exactly or conserve its essence? But this framework traps you and neither of these models will work. The old model is going, going….gone. We need to be asking some new questions that are ahead of the technology or at least with it.
The new model is emerging somewhere online on sites like Grist and the Daily Beast . It is found in nonprofit journalism venues like High Country News and in creative backpack journalists who aren’t afraid to start out on their own or as a collective and deliver journalism. Notice I said “journalism” not “start newspapers.”
This means emerging j-school grads need to be more than just decent writers they need to be “start-upers” who aren’t afraid to build their own online business models to host their work and monitor or edit citizen journalist work.
I think part of the reason we are seeing newspapers fail is a lack of metis. Metis is that certain innovative spirit that is often called genius but is really the result of educated experimentation. Newspapers, as our readings point out, lacked that kind of knowledge when it came to technology and consequently they missed an opportunity to be part of the web in a profitable way.
But that doesn’t mean j-school students should miss out. Maybe we will fall on our faces starting up our own platforms and niche markets or maybe we will be the ones to create a new business model for journalism. Only time will tell.
UPDATE: Colorado Matters just said that Rocky Mountain News employees are going to launch an online only Web site. What do you think will this venue succeed or not?
United Trade Press 1978
The Office (at home)
Photo Credits: Charlie Dave and .Fabio