I’ve been looking at courses, ranging from photography to radio production to video, and trying to figure out how to squeeze them in after I’ve already used up all my vacation for Iraq. The field of journalism is changing, and today it takes a full basket to be worth hiring. Right now I’ve got a great job (one I’ve been thoroughly enjoying), but growing comfortable is a sure recipe for disaster.
I’m trying to figure out more international reporting trips and ways I can grow that way, as well as sign up for classes to take to grow my skills. The pace of the 20th century newsroom is such that to sit down for any length of time is to fall behind.
It’s hard to imagine what other form newspapers can take, but it’s exciting too. I’m not a newspaper reader, truthfully, if by newspaper you mean on paper made of dead trees. I read the New York Times, but I do it on an iPhone. It’s free (although I’d be willing to pay), and in a sense I’m an example of the problem of the business model.
But at the same time I tell stories that citizens need to hear in order to govern themselves, and I do it in print. I was talking to a Conway selectman today about an issue that will come up in town meeting in April, when residents will vote on it, and he was lamenting how ill-informed many voters are. They passed up on building a new town garage, he said, despite it costing the same as repairing the old one. It was an example of the wisdom of the voter failing, he said, because they were poorly informed.
Who or what is going to inform them in the future? I’m not sure. But the new tools with which it is possible to inform are exciting, and I plan to be on that forefront. Journalism may be in trouble in some places, but it’s only because the new business model hasn’t been unearthed. It will be, and when it is I’ll be there. Now where is that course schedule…