I’ve been following the internet forced evolution of media for some time. Besides following Jeff Jarvis’ Buzz Machine with vigor, I finally took the time to read my friend Aaron’s blog (from his journalism grad student days). This post really got me thinking. Historically, journalism’s role was to find news as well as provide analysis. At one time, not too far in the past, in order to have an idea of the goings-on in, say, Washington, DC, you needed to have a staffer on the ground that would mail (dear God) or wire an article in. Even in the pre-web days of the 70’s and 80’s (and, really, much earlier) the web of local affiliates made such concepts silly. Of course, each network and bureau had staff on the ground in key areas (Wall Street, DC, etc) but started utilizing the power of the network to cover, say, a critical moment in Iowa.
The web, though, rapidly changed this. Now we have a cacophony of news, ideas, data. Rapidly, our role as news consumers (I’d rather call this data-consumer) has changed. We have shifted from needing news to sorting through the news. Our challenge (well, mine at least) is to assign value to all this stuff. Newsy types need to focus on research, on providing deeper insight, getting to the heart of any story. With this, it is even more critical than ever for journalists to focus on integrity. With so many choices out there, readers must trust the journalists to provide balance and depth. Originally the focus of media’s agnosticism, now the critical need is for transparency. Acknowledge your viewpoints (biases, whatever you wish to call it), and publicly challenge it.
Anyway, just a few random thoughts on a Monday morning.