I am strongly disappointed by the out-right negativity permeating through journalism right now.
The anger, the negativity, the we-can’t attitude hit a flash point on an intern’s post about job cuts and a newsroom reorganization. Yes, grown-up journalists were using an intern as a punching bag.
If you don’t believe journalism can be turned around, leave now. Find a new career. A prerequisite for success is believing in yourself.
Enthusiastic, bright-eyed, thoughtful and energetic interns and journalism students — the kinds of people we’ll need to turn this industry around — are being told to find a new career by angry journalists. Jessica DaSilva has encountered this in several internships:
Another problem I (and my peers) have encountered in internships is an eagerness to turn us away from journalism or jade us in some way. We all wonder why. I mean, if we all followed the popular mantra of “go to law school and make your mother proud,” then what would be the future of journalism?
Discouraging people who want to save journalism is not going to help us save journalism. And trust me, journalism needs to be saved. But it can only be saved by people who believe that journalism can and will thrive.
Do you believe?
I believe in journalism. In fact, I think the Internet is the greatest thing to ever happen to journalism. Now people can interact with news.
People can have a voice. And reporters can embrace interacting with the community. That’s a powerful thing.
The Internet and the Web are fundamentally better at disseminating news and information than either print or broadcast. People have been voting with their eyeballs and dollars. As journalists, we need to be where people are.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and say every newsroom reorganization is going to be successful. Many — perhaps most — will not be. But I would rather try something new and risk the potential for failure — or success — than continue doing something that I know will fail.
And if most news organizations continue down the path they are on right now, they will fail. Change isn’t easy, but it’s the only way to turn things around. It’s important for news organizations to realize that innovation often requires a reallocation of resources.
It’s easier to believe that there is no solution, rather than come up with one. That’s an idea that is killing journalism. It’s an idea that sustains the curmudgeon tribe of journalists.
There are solutions and there have been Web success stories. CNET has become a powerful and successful force in tech news on the Web. CBS recently bought CNET for $1.8 billion.
Blog network and advocacy journalism innovator The Huffington Post is worth upwards of $100 million. TechCrunch has 3.2 million unique visitors and is ranked in the top 1,000 most visited sites in the world by Alexa. Not bad for tech blog staffed by a handful of employees.
All of these examples have one thing in common: They don’t look and operate like legacy media companies. They exploit the strengths of the medium they are working on. How many newspapers and legacy news organizations can say they have really exploited the Web as a medium?
Companies make money off the Web all the time. If journalism companies want to succeed on the Web they can. But that means making tough decisions.
It means cutting some legacy staff. It means reallocating resources. It means taking risks — sometimes huge risks.
All this talk about how journalism is a public service and how it protects democracy will mean nothing if we don’t believe in ourselves and take risks. The future of journalism depends on it.
I believe. Do you?