Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saving Journalism

I've been thinking a lot lately about the future of newspapers and the sorry state of journalism. I don't know who this person is, but Clay Shirky sums up my initial thoughts really well.
Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That’s been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we’re going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead.
I think it's pretty clear that newsprint is dying. And that's probably a good thing. While I like having a crossword puzzle on paper, physically printing newspapers seems almost irresponsible when they can be delivered so much more efficiently electronically. But the larger point he makes in the post is what resonates. In putting so much effort into saving an outmoded delivery system, the industry misses the real problem, which is that any vessel devoid of meaningful content is worthless.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

More real journalism is happening online all the time, and there seems to be increasingly less in the traditional media. There is really no justification for destroying all of those trees for the sake of paper that just goes to landfill when electronic communication is so much more efficient anyhow.

wv: "hystic"

7:26:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I think they mainly keep the paper version going for older people who don't use computers. But eventually I think it will just get too expensive to keep it up. I don't have much hope they'll use the savings to rehire good journalists though.

9:55:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Ahem. I am older people and I've built many of my own computers. I've been using them since 1969 when you measured then in acres not memory capacity.

I wonder if the wonderkids who think their grandparents didn't invent their toys have more than the most rudimentary idea how they actually work.

2:46:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Fogg my dear, you are the exception, not the rule. And I was thinking of really old people. You're still a youngster.

4:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The newspapers no longer control distribution. Q.E.D. Game over. Readem and weep. The fat lady has sung.

Its not a front of one front (radio), two (radio + tv), but of three fronts (radio+ tv+ internet).

Maybe some of those older folks can reeducate us on what the fate is of anything that fights on that many fronts.

5:42:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Hey Eric,

Legacy newspapers could still compete if they delivered real news instead of trying to co-opt the bloggers niche. The big problem is cash. Few have figured out how to make money on internet journalism. Even most of the big sites survive on VC capital.

In any event, you have an interesting start up project there yourself. Please do check in again and remind to visit once you get it off the ground.

5:58:00 PM  

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