March 27, 2014

The great opportunity of new media journalism

This is for @otrjasona @Jason_A_Murdock @bartoncreeth @LyraMcKee and @dmcbfs. Please watch the video above.

Legacy media is moribund. Legacy media is on a journey of managaed and inexorable decline. It's steady as she sinks. Yes, the relationship between words and money is off. But it will be corrected.

The decline of legacy media isn't all a matter of money. The decline of legacy media is the making of two entirely avoidable circumstances.

One it has lost it's soul. It has capitulated to advertising and public relations. It has been co-opted by those who govern us. As George Orwell said:
"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations."
Our press isn't this. Our press is flat, serving and servile. It isn't curious or courageous, partisan and adversarial. We need to fix that. Only a vigorous and voracious press will keep countries and governments honest. Our head of government, Peter Robinson wants the press to be more positive and cuddly. But if the press is accountable to Peter Robinson, who is Peter Robinson and our government accountable too?

Two, journalism has failed to iterate and innovate.
Local and national journalism has failed to move with the times. These are spectacularly complacent. They are paper newspapers who happen to be online. They aren't digital native and of the news world. A number of news outlets have shown what the future of journalism looks like. Including Vox Media. They are a reaction to the old model of relentless presentism and are creating an entirely new model of persistent content. They want to explain the news and make it open and easy for everybody.

Ezra Klein (@EzraKlein),the co-founder and lead of Vox Media, said:
"If we can’t take things that are important and meaningful in people’s lives and make them interesting, that failure is 100% on us as writers. That is entirely our fault."
Then said:
"There is no such things here as the vegetables of journalism. We have to figure out how to make this stuff not just matter to people, not just appealing to people, we have to figure out how to make is understandable to them too."
Matt Yglesias (@MattYglesias) said:
"Digital articles, at least in principle, last forever as web-archives. That’s something some people are taking advantage of today. But we don’t think that people are writing articles with that in mind… We [at Vox Media] want to create the single greatest resource available for people to understand the issues that are in the news."
I previously looked at Vox here. Vox is a general news site whose mission it to explain the news. Vox is published by Vox Media. This is a growing modern publishing house which is made up of six other news sites: SB Nation, The Verge, Polygon, Curbed, Eater, and Racked. Each site is a distinct entity under Vox Media. Importantly, Vox Media aren't just a news company, but also a technology company.

For other actors in the new wave of new media journalist, I point to Maria Popova and her site Brainpickings, described as "the best the internet has to offer". I also can point to Andrew Sullivan and his ad-free, subscription-based blog The Dish. And First Look Media where you can find Glenn Greenwald and his new venture The Intercept. I looked at Glenn here.
That is our charge. To follow. Even lead. This is our opportunity. Do something new.

Just remember what Christopher Hitchens said, how he so very envied the young person who was starting out. Let's do it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...