<![CDATA[BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » Saving journalism isn’t about saving jobs:
Saving journalism isn’t about saving jobs or even newspapers. In fact, the goal shouldn’t be just to save journalism but to grow it, expand it, explode it, taking advantage of all the amazing new means to gather and share news we have today.
Yes, it [the practice of journalism] can grow and expand, but we need an economic model that distributes the value of information to its organizers and creators. I don’t buy the insight of “norgs,” because it is a plaintive one, rather than a concrete suggestion about how news organizations can distribute value. Acknowledging the need for change isn’t cause for a standing ovation, it’s more of a “duh!” moment to be observed, followed by an extensive grilling for answers. So, what do we do?
The key quote is this one: “Because with a staff that is now too small to cover every news story, we can learn how to cover just the stories that truly matter to people, and cover the heck out of them….”
Wrong, because this assumes that a.) there is no economic system that can expand news coverage, and b.) that there are stories that truly matter and those that don’t, which can be ignored. The reality is there are many more stories that matter to smaller audiences than to giant masses of people; some of those small stories are components of generational movements, but not all, nor do they need to be to deserve coverage.
So, it’s not about saving jobs, saving journalism is about creating jobs, even jobs that exist outside of the news organization (we used to call it freelancing, but now it’s different, a kind of part-time work of passion and expertise) and expanding the organization by obliterating the walls between editorial efforts and economic rewards while somehow, miraculously, increasing accountability and ethical practices.
I’ve built a very low-cost news network before, and it can be done by pooling resources—equipment, subscriptions to research services, phone costs, cameras—while distributing rewards to bring the passionate gatherer of news into the effort. It must be self-critical to the Nth degree, while welcoming to new talent. It doesn’t involve distributing advertising and promotion, as Jeff Jarvis suggests; those operations can be relatively centralized (as Yahoo! and Google AdSense demonstrate in different ways). All it takes is an organization that doesn’t see itself as the center of value creation, which is usually confused with revenue.
A successful new news organization will acknowledge most value creation takes place outside itself and will find ways to project revenue to the many nexuses of value creation, what most of us call “talented people.”
I need more Theraflu….
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