After reading the article I discovered 140 characters will not suffice. Before reading my following musings, please read the above article.
It is scary how naive these students sound. Just because you can find a lot of information online they readily believe any information will be available. Just visit Google, search and you will be given whatever you look for.
What if what they searched for didn’t provide anything, would these blue-eyed whippersnappers interpret that as a confirmation that what they were looking for doesn’t exist? A bit scary. However, good news for me, because that means the bar isn’t set high; more accurately, the bar is probably lying on the ground somewhere in a frat house.
Citizen Journalists & Bloggers
Every blue moon there is that one citizen journalist (blogger) who really amazes and puts real journalists to shame. Their luxury is that they don’t have an editor breathing down their neck, asking you not to write something because it might upset the investors. Which means they ca break a story anytime. That is however their weakness, as they might not have someone to force them to fact-check if the story is correct.
The trained and even educated journalist. Most of the time worked hard to get to where they are. Too familiar with gatekeeping and laws. Forced to cut corners to break the latest story. Instead of maybe working on a story for weeks, they now how only hours to beat the competing paper or even the too eager local blogger.
There seem to be a lot of good journalists still out there, but they aren’t given a chance anymore. The are told they must follow the 24h deadline.
The old shoe-leather journalist still exist, but is not forced out of existence because of technology, but because of revenue and the absurd belief readers only want breaking news and want to pay for it.
It has stagnated the same way the entertainment business has. Entertainment consumers has voiced what they want, instead the entertainment refuses to move forward. The end result, BitTorrent.
The same might happen to the media if something isn’t done quick. However, it might be a good thing – let the old dinosaurs die and let the younger journalists create their own up-to-date media houses.
The only competition the media should feel are coming from bloggers are quality. Washington Post not only has blogs, but use WordPress to host them. As John Birmingham mentioned, when the New Yorker released their iPad app their subscriptions went up.
Readers don’t want to pay for breaking news. What they however are willing to pay for are quality articles. Well written and longer than 140 characters.
As mentioned, the media must not only understand that readers won’t pay for breaking news, but they also need to understand that journalist will go and stay with those who let them be true journalists – the shoe-leather kind.
The entertainment business claimed BitTorrent would kill the business. So far it seems to do pretty well. However, you can see only a handful who provide what consumers want; iTMS, Spotify and NetFlix, to mention a very few.
The same will happen to the media, if they don’t change with times and value their journalists and quality reporting.
I’m at the bottom of my glass of vodka now. Thoughts might become more erratic, but I think I’ve gotten my message across.
As a journalist, if I ever end up at a paper like Washington Post I’ll be ecstatic, but end of the day, as long as I’m allowed to do what I want as a journalist and paid for it, I don’t really care who hires me. But that’s the problem – will there be anyone left to hire trained journalists in the future? Or will we be left with bloggers who get their income from ads?