New journalism still at roots, new methods should neither take over nor be dismissed

4 Apr

While many news oganizations have effectively morphed with the new Intenet landscape for news, there are still some journalists of the old mindset who believe print should prevail.

That mindset alienates a large number of readers — and not just readers of the young crowd. Walk into any Starbucks or other coffee shop and there are plenty of over-30 and 40-year-olds on iPads, laptops and smartphones.

So is it stubbornness that makes some wish to keep the old journalism model? Or is there a real notion that it’s possible to make print more popular than online news?

One argument against online news is that requiring journalists to be in constant connection with social media and constantly updating posts and responding to comments is far too time consuming to also allow them to do any substantial journalism. Real, investigative reporting, some argue, requires months of coordination and research.

The thing is though, thanks to technology, what used to take months only now takes days. Instead of traveling across the country for face-to-face meetings, it’s possible to meet via Skype. Instead of trekking across town to interview sources and gather opinions, news sites can send out tweets and poll readers online.

While the Internet is gathering basic information for journalists, they can be doing more investigative reporting or maybe just updating those blog posts.

 A valid argument against online publishing, however, is that news is given out free that way and it’s very difficult for news organizations to make money when they distribute content without a price. But on the flip side, as is seen in the article about the Penn State blog v. its newspaper, online news seems to attract a larger readership than does print.

So perhaps we’re still in the early stages of online journalism. News organizations seem to be making strong online presences, but maybe it’s the readers, not the writers, who haven’t fully grasped the idea that online is a new medium, and it’s not a requirement that content on it must be free. Perhaps there will come a time that readers will accept that they must pay for online news.

Maybe the readers who prefer to hold a real paper and get straightforward news from just a couple publications will eventually grasp onto the idea of subscribing to a legitimate news site. With tablets and electronic readers, it’s not so crazy that “print” will eventually be online as a sort of combination between what was and what the news has morphed into.

Other ideas about the future of journalism revolve around the combination of media organizations to produce better-quality pieces. Scroll to the bottom of that article, and it talks about the Chauncey Bailey Project. 

Earlier I talked about arguments claiming investigative reporting could not withstand the new newsroom. However, the Chauncey Bailey Project did use a new journalistic model to compose a successful piece of investigative reporting.

“It was clear that we had hit the tipping point – the point at which news organizations with disparate skills and expertise and shrinking resources were better off working together,” wrote Rosenthal about the Chauncey Bailey Project. “We knew that we were doing great journalism, which felt good, but the collaboration was necessary to keep the investigation going…”

Traditional journalism doesn’t tell news instantaneously the way Twitter, Facebook and blogs do, but maybe that’s its advantage. It’s the medium reserved for telling the story.

People want to know breaking news as soon as it happens, that’s why they carry the Internet around on their cellphones, but they also want to know background and the real story surrounding that breaking news. And that’s another place that traditional journalism might find its real niche.

It seems old journalism was about being the first to break a story. Regular citizens have taken over that, so perhaps the new journalism is about drawing from all possible sources and producing fresh information.

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3 Responses to “New journalism still at roots, new methods should neither take over nor be dismissed”

  1. Ronald R. Rodgers April 4, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    Excellent analysis – lots of deep thought

    It seems old journalism was about being the first to break a story. Regular citizens have taken over that, so perhaps the new journalism is about drawing from all possible sources and producing fresh information. YES!!

    Intenet landscape

  2. Ronald R. Rodgers April 4, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    Do you have a storify?

    • emilyatuf April 5, 2012 at 11:20 am #

      No, I’m sorry. I didn’t do the Twitter assignment or the Storifies.

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