Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Why journalism is dying

This is very mean of me, but it's not posted with anything but curiosity. We're having layoffs -- a lot of layoffs -- in the media industry right now and we're told -- and appropriately so -- that part of the reason is the Internet.

But merely being on the Internet doesn't mean you take the culture of the dying-trees media and plop it down on the Web, though if you listen to people long enough, you'd swear that the medium by itself is rendering traditional media obsolete.

That's not true.

Take, for example, the front page of an online news Web site I respect... but not today.

Back in the '70s and '80s, I'd occasionally speak to AM radio newsies about the then-dying state of commercial radio news. They blamed everybody but themselves. "What killed radio news?" I'd say to them. "Radio newspeople."

You can't wait 14 hours in today's media landscape to tell people what happened. I see firsthand, all the time, the apparent belief that we in the media get to set the rules by which people will have access to information. Maybe 20 years ago news consumers would adjust to our schedules. But those days are gone.

Which is the primary reason why a lot of newspeople are gone, too.


angad said...

nice blog

said... a college student majoring in journalism and I totally agree with you. The internet is a wonderful tool but at the same time its taking our jobs away. I often wonder whether there will even be a job for me when I graduate.

Bob Collins said...

3 Daniele, I will give you the advice I give to so many in your position, get into this business just as fast as you can. And as hard as you work to get INTO it -- and you will -- work just as hard to STAY in it and make the people who hired you... and the people who'll read/hear/watch you proud.

No matter what the state of the biz, there is always a need for talented journalists.

Ed Kohler said...

Great point, Bob. A site that's targeting Serious News junkies is providing little to nothing of value when they report on a major local event like that in time for lunch the following day.

Aaron said...

MinnPost had (well, still has) an fantastic opportunity to become a pivotal news source - they are just having the worst time of their lives trying to break away from the newspaper mentality. It has been extremely frustrating for me to watch. I had high hopes for them. it's not money that's their problem: it's struggling with figuring out how to engage, capture and work with audiences online. They have come a long ways since they've started, but I feel like they are still behind the point where they should have started in the first place.

Chuck Olsen said...

I agree on all counts... the "11am edition" concept has always seemed kinda lame. However, it should be said that this schedule is exactly what MinnPost has always promised, so there's something to be said for setting up that schedule and expectation and meeting it.