Friday, June 29, 2007

10 Reasons There’s a Bright Future for Journalism

One of my favorite blogs is MediaShift with Mark Glaser. I interviewed Mark for background information on my proposal on how to leverage Airmen to help win the information war. His latest question to journalists: Is the journalism cup...half empty, or half full. The response motivates me in these changing times. It comes at a moment where I need to be motivated. That story is still a few days away.

There’s been a lot of debate lately about the future of newspapers, the future of TV, the future of radio — the future of journalism itself — in the face of drastic change brought by technology and the Internet. I’ve asked MediaShift readers whether they thought journalism’s metaphorical cup was half empty or half full and most people saw a pretty bright future.

As you might imagine, I share their enthusiasm for the future, and wouldn’t be writing this blog if I didn’t believe we will end up in a better place. But I’m also a hardened realist and natural skeptic, and I know there are painful months and years ahead for the (dwindling number of) people working in traditional media. Not everything new and shiny will be good for us, and there are plenty of ethical and technological pitfalls ahead.

But rather than dwell on the negative, rail against change, or damn the upstarts at Google and Craigslist, I’d like to take a walk on the sunny side of life in new media, consider the positive aspects of all that is happening, and how we could end up in a renaissance era for journalism. While I do believe large media companies will have the most difficult time adapting to the changes, they can learn a lot from the successful business models of smaller sites such as TMZ or The Smoking Gun (both owned by media companies).

Read his 10 reasons HERE!


MSgt (ret) Sandra Brown said...

First, I thought you had written this yourself, perhaps you might want a more noticeable attribution to the source.
Second, can you clarify what you mean by the statement "leveraging Airmen to fight the information war?"
I enjoyed the article and have a few comments. (Like you thought I would just read this and not say a word!) On point four, who's checking the fact-checkers? If I read a blog, do I have to go back later to make sure someone hasn't called foul on the original?
On point six, Are opinions setting the news agenda? If so, why are Paris Hilton's escapades the most important story of he last decade? Most people I know are sick of hearing about it. Yet the unending parade continues. That's one reason I decided not to work in mainstream media after retiring. It seems something is labeled "news" these days if there happened to be someone with a camera catching an unfortunate event of everyday life. Why else would a "local" newscast devote airtime to the story of some guy who went crazy in a child custody hearing and had to be subdued when the incident took place in some other state? I see it all the time on our Fox Network. Their positioning statement is "Local. Las Vegas." It's quite catchy, but in no way true. Last night's top story, of course enhanced with video, was about the fires in California; which leads to point ten.

Will we ever break from the "If it bleeds, it leads" mentality? The public craves half-empty journalism and until we can sell them on half-full stories no amount of leveraging the information war will suffice.

I combat it in my own small way. Whenever I get an opportunity to tell people about my personal experiences with Iraqis who were thankful for the coalition I do. Unfortunately I don't have an audience as large as Rosie O'Donnell, so my TRUTH is outweighed by OPINION.

DON'T GIVE UP ON THE HALF-FULL! It's people with your determination who might change mindsets. Imagine how public opinion would evolve if every household got the chance to watch the half-full stories on The Pentagon Channel instead of the half-empty, partisan politic slants dominating the major networks. Stay safe!

Cindy and Eric Dorfner said...

Sandra, Sandra, Sandra ... Poor Chris can't buy a break with you, eh?

How's it going these days, anyway? Are you loving retired life? I'm counting down the days myself. I've got 4 years and 8 days until I can drop my papers. Just under 5 years till I can type (ret) after my rank.

For now, I'm enjoying being a mom to an almost 8-week-old boy named Aidan. I have to go back to work July 9. I've enjoyed my time off and wish I could win the lottery so I didn't have to go back.

We're dealing with being back in the U.S. after so long overseas, though England wasn't exactly Germany -- so it wasn't as tough to leave.

I was disappointed again this year when the promotion list came out. Like you that one year (I'm pretty sure it was you ...), I was the #1 nonselect for MSgt, missing it by 2.09. Luckily for me, I hope, is that I had a medal that wasn't considered. If it works out, I should find out sometime between July 9 and 11 that I have a line number. If not, I guess I'll figure out a study timeline for next year.

Anyway, I hope everything is going well for you. I have a blog, as well. You can click on my name to get to it and see pictures of my beautiful little boy. Otherwise, drop me an email sometime at

Cindy (York, Maier, Dorfner, whichever one you knew me by ...)

AFN Broadcaster said...

The beauty of web 2.0 is everyone is a fact checker. YOU fact check the fact checker. If he/she is wrong you either fix it, or call him/her out on another site.

Here is the link to my Leveraging Citizen Journalism blog!

I don't think opinions are setting the news agenda in mainstream media...the $$$ is! As sad as it seems, Paris Hilton lead AP news all day the other day...I'M IN IRAQ...PEOPLE ARE DYING and she lead the cast. Your and my friends must be liars, because more people turned into Larry King than anything else the other night.

That is why web 2.0 is soooo awesome. There is a news niche for everyone. Maybe you want to know more of the 'juicy' news on Paris... Go to Pink Is The New Blog! If you want to know what type of high-tech gadgets Paris Hiltons fans are using to photograph her go to G4TV!
If it is mainstream nonsense you want...then just turn on your TV. There is something for everyone now. Liberal, Conservative, Bleeding, Sweat, or Sexy! I LOVE IT!
Besides that...journalism is more than half full. I think it's more like 65% full. With every new technology comes an easier way to capture, edit, and tell a story...and to more people.

pbohall said...

What is "bleeding?" So...not being the most informed of all things "Paris,"...I kinda dig Paris - think she's a kick. I'm envious of all the fun she's having. However, I do agree info about Paris (or any other pop culture media) isn't the most desired or necessary content of journalism focus. Can't stand celeb gossip, but it does seem to say a lot about our avoidance of REAL issues and the $$$ making advertising machine. Soldiers dying is deplorable in my opinion!!I crave more "half-full" coverage. ~Prima

Bryan said...

I have one major issue with citizen journalism...see, its like giving a 10 year old the body of Brian Urlacher...they have great tools, but they do not have the ability to use the tools effectively and the judgment about when to use those tools.

You spoke of "fact-checking the fact-checker," and I agree with that premise. The problem is that facts aren't always facts. Facts are always reported through the filter of the journalist and received through the filter of the audience. Prime example...the President Clinton Impeachment. Many of the "facts" reported in that case were actually summaries of the facts or opinions about the facts, not an actual unbiased reporting of the facts.

Citizen journalists often report "news" in a very slanted fashion. I live by an important saying "Having the right to do something does not make you right to do it." What I mean by that is that having the right to speak freely does not mean you don't have the responsibility to exercise that right with great care and prudence. many "citizen journalists" don't do that. Many "professionals" don't these days either. Ethics have, by in large, gone the way of the dodo bird. News rooms are run by sales and finance guys, not true news people. The result is that we get "news" that sells, not an unbiased reporting of the facts.

I cannot imagine how the Kennedy assassination would have been covered in 2007. We would have "pundits" talking ALL DAY LONG on MSNBC, FOX NEWS, CNN, etc. about the impact of the assassination, who the likely shooter was and by the end of the day over 50% of what would have been report would be speculation, opinion, unverified, and a dis-service to the American people.

Citizen journalists tend to be essentially the same guy who wishes he could get paid to go on CNN and ramble and argue about which way facts should be interpreted rather than just reporting the facts and letting the viewer draw their own conclusion. In a rush to be first, they often make things up, exaggerate, or simply mis-report actual facts.

A prime example is what happened in London last week. Numerous reports talk about London police diffusing the first car-bomb outside of that club. They didn't diffuse it. Video clearly shows it as a dud. But once one "news" organization reported that it had been diffused, they all ran with it.

So, I like citizens having the right to speak their minds, I just wish most of them would choose not to because they simply do not have the training, the intellect, the wisdom, and the resources to ensure that what they are reporting is accurate. They rely on fans of the blog to fact-check them. The problem with many of the blogs is that there can tend to be a mob mentality and people believe what they see because they are a fan of the author.


AFN Broadcaster said...

"Citizen journalists often report "news" in a very slanted fashion."

BG...what news org doesn't?

The key here is to find the slant you like, or more importantly...enough different slants to form you're own opinion. PS. Nice analogy with Brian Urlacher.

Anonymous said...

I agree - perhaps add a quick Byline at the top to indicate the original source. :)