Journalism Go!

August 14, 2013

158_DebateAfter working in several newspaper newsrooms in my long-ago-formal journalism career, and although there’s been some ugly motions the last few years crying a dooms-day end to old fashioned media, modern life might be aiding a news-gathering recovery — people’s news by the peoples.

Despite the closing of newspapers, reporters losing jobs, technology and the public going elsewhere, we might actually might be on the cusp of a golden age of journalism — the eye is in the look.

(Illustration found here).

And getting a job in journalism is getting better after nearly a decade of falling employment in media, especially after the plunge in the 2008/2009 financial meltdown — some figures from UGA News Service earlier this month:

By Oct. 31—the benchmark date for comparison year-to-year — 56 percent of the bachelor’s degree recipients had a full-time job, up just slightly from 53 percent a year earlier, they said.
The rate of employment improved in the months after graduation, they found, and 66 percent of the graduates reported holding a full-time job roughly six to eight months after graduation.

This year and 2012 showed signs of improvement, so maybe the storms have abated — somewhat.

Yesterday, Henry Blodget at BusinessInsider posted an unusual view of the nowadays in that news gathering has better days  ahead, and we’re talking journalism, and not the ‘newspaper business,’ here and it’s directed at the public.
A few high points:

It’s true that “golden age for journalism” is not usually the first thing that you hear when you go to conferences and listen to panels of middle-aged newspaper people talk about the state of the newspaper business.
But I wasn’t talking about the newspaper business.
I was talking about journalism.

Yes, there have been high-profile examples of “iconic” news organizations cutting back or shutting down, but there has also been a mind-boggling explosion of other news and information sources over the same period, including Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Bloomberg LP, Google, WikiLeaks, thousands of digital news and information sites, YouTube, and the installation of cameras, audio recording devices, and instant publishing tools in the pockets of nearly two billion people worldwide.

There are thousands upon thousands of successful professional news organizations in the world, and they employ hundreds of thousands of professional journalists.
In addition, anyone in the world with an Internet connection can now create journalism — and lots of them do.
You don’t need a printing press to create and distribute journalism anymore.
You don’t need a broadcast network or a radio station.
All you need are your eyes, ears, nose, and storytelling and digital publishing tools, the latter of which are included for free on every smartphone.
If anyone anywhere publishes an important fact or tells an important story, people will find it and share it.
And it will get the attention it deserves.

On the Internet, everything is a click away.
What’s more, on the Internet, all stories can be stored permanently and viewed from anywhere, anytime.
Compare that to the world of 20 years ago, when news had to be distributed on paper or broadcast over ephemeral air waves, and news consumers had to either lay their hands on a newspaper or magazine or plop themselves (at the appropriate time) in front of a radio or TV.

As recently as 20 years ago, news consumption was limited to morning and evening papers and TV and radio broadcasts.
For most of the past two decades, meanwhile, this consumption was largely limited to anywhere you had a tethered Internet connection.
Now, you can get your news anywhere, anytime, in the palm of your hand. Just as important, you can immediately share it.

Blodget calls the current media/journalism downturn as a “tumultuous transition period” with a ‘golden age’ already here.
Only if we can the NSA from sucking up reality.

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