Saturday, November 8, 2008

National Press Club discusses journalism's future

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 11/08/2008
Former broadcast anchor Dan Rather, Associated Press President/CEO Tom Curley, New York Times Managing Editor Jill Abramson, and NYU professor Jay Rosen were all present for the event in New York City, and it can be seen here at the C-Span Web site.

Some interesting thoughts:

Rather said that he thinks doomsday talk for TV, radio, magazines and newspapers is premature. He says two things are lacking right now: "optimism" for what's to come - and he added he's an optimist "by nature and experience" - and "idealism," striving to provide the best coverage possible and lessen the bleeding of "entertainment values overrunning news values." Rather added, "the center of gravity is shifting to new media."

Curley: "Don't dismay. There's a tremendous opportunity out there for covering the news, and it's never been better."

Rosen: "The tools of media production ... have now been distributed to the people out there. That is a social fact. People have blogs, they have cameras, they have video, they can edit, they can create their own report, they can upload it and they can distribute it to the world."

When those who were formerly the media's audience take up the craft, that is "citizen journalism," Rosen says.

But that same context amounts to exciting opportunities ahead for young journalists and students of journalism, who stay optimistic and push forward, he says. "The tribe of professional journalists are in a situation of forced migration, meaning they can't live anymore on the land they colonized and developed so successfully for the last 100 years. The land gave out." "If they're going to have a future for their people, for their tribe, they're going to have to migrate across the digital divide and rebuild."

"The AP is making the journey over, the New York Times has made the journey over, and what they're discovering is there is a new land there and we can thrive there."

"It's like a frontier, it's like the Wild West, that hasn't been colonized yet, it hasn't been civilized yet. It's still wild in a lot of ways. That's what's fun about it, that's what's cool about it, that's what makes me optimistic."

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