I make the rounds of the journalism websites that interest me the most, and I often find interesting discussions. The combination of a few of the websites, along with an interview with a dentist from Gorham, have been shifting my opinion about journalism’s future.
Why blame the newspapers? Or, more to the point, why look to them for a solution? Newspapers are like American car manufacturers: 20th century relics. Twitter and YouTube provided more by the minute reporting than the Times or the Post. Most of CNN, FoxNews and MSNBC were reporting what anyone with an Internet connection could have accessed at home. Both television and print journalism are in trouble, but journalism isn’t.
What do these mediums do well, and what do they fail at? Newspapers have proven to be better at second generation news. They do not cover unfolding events well, because as Jason Jones of the Daily Show put it, everything is at least a day old. Instead, they do a good job of compiling the breaking news into more in depth coverage. Sort of something between a weekly news magazine and Twitter.
Television news does opinion well, and that’s what they should stick to. MSNBC and FoxNews battle for viewers as CNN falls behind. What people are looking for on these stations is validation of their viewpoints, not an open discourse on the day’s events. That is what they do well, and they should stick to it.
It is up to the next batch of reporters to figure out how to make things work.
A dentist in Gorham was sent to the Dominican Republic by the U.S. Navy because of new computer techniques he was using. He said dentists hadn’t yet figured out how to best use technology, so he was trying to be on the forefront. That creativity is imperative for journalists.
The cost of video, audio and photo equipment is at an all time low, and the ability to post on the web is essentially zero. There is room for an explosion of publications run by individuals who’s passion is reporting. How will they make money? No one knows, but they will.
Look for opportunities, not challenges, and don’t be dragged down by the companies stuck in the past. Newspapers see challenges, not opportunities.
Young reporters, who have grown up in the digital age, have to be the ones to create the new model. They have to devise the next journalism, because the current one won’t last. It won’t fail, but the future will look very different. And instead of looking to the papers to figure it out, reporters themselves should be the ones pushing forward. The newspaper industry’s future is no bleaker than our own if we can’t devise whatever comes next.