When the gun is in the other hand
Monday, January 23rd, 2006
Journalists have enjoyed a relative monopoly on the public podium, expecting to present their cauterized and packaged distillation of events without much dispute or amendment. Many journalists have not been aggrandized by this power and remain humble, personable scribes. Unfortunately, some journalists think they’ve got a monopoly on the power to report, as Cathy Seipp discovered recently when exchanging e-mails with New York Times reporters. (Link via Matt.)
Meanwhile, in today’s NYT, we get what looks like an auto-obituary for the newspaper industry.
“Papers are so clunky and big,” he says. If those words are alarming to old media, they are only the beginning of a larger puzzle for today’s marketers: how to make digital technology their ally as they try to understand and reach an emerging generation.
The article goes on to describe an intensely networked group of young folks who find newspapers irrelevant. But the problem isn’t really with newspapers, you see. Oh no. It’s that these kids are sheep.
Dr. Levine said he had encountered concerns that some young people lacked the ability to think and plan for the long term, that they withered without immediate feedback and that the machinery of groupthink had bred a generation flush with loyal comrades but potentially weak on leaders.
Finally, best wishes to Matt Welch as he joins the op/ed staff at the LATimes. Journalism needs razor-sharp skeptics like Matt now more than ever, journalists who know intuitively (and celebrate) that readers aren’t sheep just ’cause they don’t value what journalists are scribbling. (Meeting Matt and friends in 1991 diverted me from Wall Street to journalism and Central Europe… one of my best diversions ever.)