Talking new journalism
Recently while talking at a writer’s conference and making the case for blogging and using social media and sharing all the good things our newspaper website has to offer, people asked “What’s in the future for newspapers? Where do you see them going, are print editions going to disappear?...”
I do not know the answer to all those questions to be sure. The business as a whole does not have definitive answer yet. But we are all working hard looking for them; we are all working to make sure journalism thrives and grows its important role in our democracy.
As we toil to find answers and grow, the future is here. You could say, there’s not time to waste looking back.
But there’s something interesting happening …
At some point we were all flummoxed by the Net … but we should not have been.
The Internet and all its offerings and capabilities are but a conduit to do what we’ve done since the beginning of time.
The more I think about it and every time a Tweet goes off about what’s new in the business is like … “We’ve done that before.” We’re just doing it at a different “place” and a different mode.
From the oral histories and stories at the dawn of time to the tablets of antiquity, the papyrus that went from hand to hand, to the Roman forums, the Greek Agora, early city or small community newspapers gazettes and pamphlets, it was all about the business of recording and disseminating information, effect change and voice opinion.
To those who are still resisting change, don’t fret.
Everything old is new again. (Or almost everything.)
And it is a good thing, there are many good things.
*We are the news consumer’s and the public’s writing wall. The writing walls of antiquity have morphed into citizen journalism initiatives like our new SeeClickFix feature (www.SeeClickFix.com) , and through blogging and the myriad social media we are now using. We’ve been there and we are doing that even better.
*Our Forums are hyperlocal and digital, no need to walk to the Agora to be at the center of our city's civic life or to be an agent of change.
*The erstwhile chicken dinner news of yore are here to stay, but just a click away, with video even, and the opportunity for all to make sure it makes the news.
* Now more people have a stake in making sure we all know about what happens or needs to happen in their community, their neighborhood, their street.
*Even the afternoon newspaper is making a comeback (sort of), here’s a Tweet from the Huffington Post: “check out 'HuffPost Hill,' our new DC afternoon email newsletter. A breezy, must-read fix for all politics junkies http://huff.to/an2k2e”
*What about news aggregators, either you love ‘em or hate ‘em … Now think back, maybe the news aggregators of today were not the first…. Hmmm, early small community newspapers perhaps reprinted stuff from other publications or big-city newspapers.
There’s a lot of unwanted noise in this big and global yet at the same time hyperlocal, conversation. You bet there is, but we can make our way through and make what’s important to our communities come to the fore.
Do we have the answers to all that ails us? Perhaps not yet, but we are on our way, to be sure.