Yesterday, 140 characters at a time, I hacked into Sam Zell and his far-ranging interview with Portfolio as signifying a man who is 1. very good at identifying the newspaper industry’s problems but (and this extends to his key advisor Lee Abrams) 2. woefully inept at articulating real responses to the crisis (other than to cut costs, which is necessary, and to add visual flash to the papers, which may or may not help), simply because as non-participants in where news is going (digital), he and Lee can’t begin to imagine its future.
On the flip side of that coin is Jeff Jarvis, who has been taking flak of late for being a supposed journalism hater, but who, in my opinion, has been a steady source of ideas over the years – mostly solid, a few shaky – for where we might try to steer this battleship.
A few days back, he gathered many of those ideas into one post. It’s step-by-step instructions on one (informed) guy’s recipe for saving the business:
Note well that none of this is new. The essential functions of journalism – reporting, watching, sharing, answering, explaining – and its verities – factualness, completeness, fairness, timeliness, relevance – are eternal, but the means of performing them are multiplying magnificently. That is why I so enjoy teaching journalism, because we need no longer pick a medium and its tools for a career but can select them every time we need to tell a story – and because journalism is no longer about preservation (it never should have been) but is instead about change and growth.
Could journalism die? Yes, but I have faith and optimism that it will survive, evolve, and grow. I believe there will be a growing market demand for journalism; I know there is a growing need.
Journalism doesn’t need THINK PIECES!! It needs solid thinking. Like this.