Thursday, October 4, 2007

From Hard Print to Screen Print

According to the article “An Evolution from Journalism to Blogalism” in the Free Press journalism as we know it today isn’t always what journalism was especially if you look back to the beginning. It has come a long way with print and broadcast, but media is changing again, and in a big way. The earliest forms of journalists in America had no pretense of objectivity as the goal was, and still is, to sell stories the public wanted to read. Whether it was rumors of witchcraft or accusations of questionable lineage, early journalism was often little more than gossip.

The Associated Press was formed to reign in the madness of such journalists and eventually it subsided and news became not only routine, but virtually unchallenged.

Howard Owens, ex-newspaper publisher, describes how the business of news settled itself into that certain way of doing:

We developed inverted pyramids both to fit wire service needs and because the nature of the print package sometimes required stories to jump, so we wanted to get news up top. We developed certain professional standards related to the content of the story because with mass production, we essentially had only one chance to get the story right. We had to put premium on accuracy and fair mindedness.

Owens goes on to note that times have changed, and are changing rapidly, at once progressive and regressive. Competition between news providers is steeper than it has ever been with a multitude of avenues for deliver from radio and broadcast to cable.

Then you have the bloggers, disorganized, unschooled, undisciplined, and free of editors, publishers or conglomerates. They are under the direction of their own conscience and the immediate response of their readers, who will and do respond immediately, adding their own information and commentary to the mix.

It’s an information free-for-all the world has never seen and you have the Great Media Divide. There are journalist and Old Media, with their pesky responsibilities, self-imposed regulations, advertiser sensitivities, and publisher/owner biases. All of which the public is rather sick of. Then there are the bloggers, with nothing but what freedom of the press was intended for in the first place, “blowing the whistle on abuses of power.”

So how does journalism survive itself in the age of New Media? The way it has in ages past, the way everything survives: it adapts. One must think, behave and report like a blogger while, somehow, keeping with standards and practices, professional pedigree, and certifications. Adopt, understand and use new technology before you engage the audience where the audience is. The world is changing again, and as a journalist you must change with it.

I think it is very important to change and adapt with new situations in whatever form of career path you choose. It is incredible important within the journalism field because in today’s world if you don’t go with the flow you will get left behind and ultimately forgotten. New styles of media have created a demand for a certain type of journalism. You can no longer ignore these changes and expect to continue on as if nothings changed. You either sink or swim, and when the water level is rising and the currents are changing you had better be one heck of a good swimmer.

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