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Author Topic: "Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism."  (Read 2273 times)

housetier

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Essay by Clay Shirky

I don't know how I cam across this essay, it appeared in my feedreader. However, despite it being quite long, I read it completely and found it interesting and insightful. It goes back all the way to pre-Gutenberg times, mentiones revolutions, business models, ideas, and seems to come back to chaos (uncontrollable change) every so often.

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With the old economics destroyed, organizational forms perfected for industrial production have to be replaced with structures optimized for digital data. It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem.

In essence it says: The newspaper industry should just stop worrying about the future, because in that future there will be no newspaper "industry" anymore. This makes the future less bleak for me, as I have a well-founded distrust for those big papers: they have a hidden agenda and it's not called "journalism"...

This essay has supposedly earned 622 responses of which I could see only a dozen, but this shall not discourage me to write yet another one! What's your response, where is your journalism?

Ehtyar

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Re: "Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism."
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2009, 03:47:35 AM »
It's extremely difficult, if not impossible to find objectivity and true journalism in mass media. Television and (most) of the newspapers are out at the start. I've found you tend to hear about a lot of things on radio that isn't published elsewhere (particularly bad moves by the government, however small), but a lot of the bigger stations tend to have a pretty blatant political preference which naturally colors a good portion of the stories they run.

It sounds lame, even to me, but it is my hope that eventually online services such as twitter and regular blogs will take over from the media, and the people will start reporting the news. I'd be interested to hear what people thing of everyday citizens being the journos of the future.

Ehtyar.

Paul Keith

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Re: "Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism."
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2009, 09:19:17 AM »
I haven't read the article yet but I have this stored in my notetaker: (No idea who said it, though I believe it was just a random comment somewhere.)

The media is not ideologically driven but conflict driven.

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For people to blanket cover mainstream media as “credible and professional” is as equally ignorant to blanket blogs as the opposite. There are good and bad reports coming from both camps… Mainstream media is incredibly biased, and anyone who says Fox News doesn’t have a conservative slant has been watching on mute with their eyes closed. I’ve been part of a few news stories ranging from my local paper to national magazines and papers… every single story I’ve been close enough to know the details I’ve seen glaring errors and misguided “facts.” A biased blogger is trying to increase his feed readership by a few hundred or land an extra $20 in adsense income this month… the biased mainstream media outlets are trying to increase their billion dollar bankrolls… either way you look at it, “News is dead” but I trust the guy trying to make an extra $20 over the billion dollar clubs.

I believe (assuming that I guessed Clay's theme right that it's only due to a lack of journalism), the problem has always been a society based problem. The mainstream media is only doing what mass journalism's structure has always been based on: "What people want to hear or might want to hear."

In fact, journalism if it's aim is to truly be objective would have failed because then the thicker and more expertly written books would have become the works of journalists but even the most objective journalists don't do that. At their core, they just try to present a story "deep" enough and "true" enough that their readers would believe them.

40hz

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Re: "Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism."
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2009, 09:42:14 AM »
A philosophy professor of mine once argued that the bulk of human language is directed at bringing about a result or desired action rather than to transmit information.

When people talk to other people, it's usually for a reason: do this; believe this; buy this; get angry about this; like this; come to bed with me...

Most of what passes for journalism supports this contention. ;)

Paul Keith

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Re: "Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism."
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2009, 10:01:39 AM »
40hz, in the age of twitter, Digg and MySpace, can you really say your professor was right?  :P

40hz

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Re: "Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism."
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2009, 04:45:57 PM »
40hz, in the age of twitter, Digg and MySpace, can you really say your professor was right?  :P

I think so. But I (like him) differentiate between talk and mindless vocalization.

I think Twitter does too. Otherwise why would they call a member's posting a tweet?

(You didn't actually think they were trying to be clever did you? :P )