Some Much Needed Optimism In The Journalism World

from the look-at-the-opportunities dept

There have been a large number of “downer” stories recently on the newspaper business — which has certainly been struggling. But there are a few stories coming out that highlights how, like any challenge, for some this really represents a big opportunities. First, there’s a post by Steve Outing, where he talks about an (as yet unnamed) group of recently laid off journalists from a major newspaper who are actually using their severance packages to start an online competitor. Who knows if it will succeed (and, I’d worry that just bringing in old newspaper guys alone won’t be enough), but it is interesting that they’re basically using the severance packages to bootstrap the new organization.

Next up, courtesy of Mathew Ingram is a discussion on why the current crisis in newspapers should lead to better journalism. This goes against the hand-wringing of many in the industry right now who seem to think that as newspapers go under — so does journalism. That, of course, makes the huge mistake in assuming that journalism only comes from newspapers. The discussion includes a long list of things that will get better once the old structures go away, and new opportunities are embraced. You should read the whole thing, but it includes a recognition that the online world will likely create more respect for the audience, more reporters & more reporting, better reporting since the audience is more involved in the process and more ways to tell a story. That all sounds good.

And finally, for those of you still clinging to the idea that physical newspapers are the preferred medium, Ken Paulson recently gave a speech, where he outlined an alternate reality where the newspaper was invented after the internet. The point was to highlight the “advantages” that a newspaper provides to the internet. I’m not so sure that the advantages are really all that compelling in most cases, but it does show that perhaps the newspapers bemoaning the supposed death of print should be a bit more focused on providing more value, rather than complaining about the internet.

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Comments on “Some Much Needed Optimism In The Journalism World”

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JB says:

My Fear

Here is my fear: without newspapers we will not know which news we can trust.

I want a trusted, credible, accurate news source that follows the accepted news-gathering standards.

Right now I know that if I see news from another city I can trust that news if it came from that city’s local newspaper.

If newspapers go away, how do I know which news is trusted, credible, and accurate? Do I need to build my own personal list of credible sources from among the “news” sites that might spring up on the Internet?

(Related: The financial troubles of local television stations and their news operations are the subject of an article in today’s Wall Street Journal.)

Crabby (profile) says:

I think newspapers have caused many of their woes themselves. Papers cannot compete with the Internet for speed, so instead of trying to rush stories to the next print edition just to get the story out first, newspapers should focus on adding content to their product (and I don’t mean more ads). Nor can they compete with the Internet for variety of opinion and free expression. Newspapers are often very biased, but there’s no need to read only one newspaper on the Web, so at least you get exposure to multiple viewpoints on an issue.

Newspapers fall between the immediacy of the Internet and the monthly schedule of a magazine. They can take a day or two to seek out interviews, prepare informational graphics, and give readers some real background for stories. I’d rather wait a day and get the real story instead of getting a hackneyed reaction to partial information.

If newspapers go under, it’s because they offer nothing of value — and if they offer nothing of value, it’s because they aren’t trying hard enough.

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