I was going to start a “no screens” time at 10:30 pm CST this evening and read more in my latest analog book, “Presentation Zen” by Garr Reynolds. Picking up our family’s iTouch and reading a bit in Google Reader (my 21st century free digital newspaper, don’t you know) changed that, however, and I feel obligated to share the following thought provoking paragraphs from Clay Shirkey’s post from Friday the 13th last month, “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable.”
Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That’s been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we’re going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead.
When we shift our attention from ’save newspapers’ to ’save society’, the imperative changes from ‘preserve the current institutions’ to ‘do whatever works.’ And what works today isn’t the same as what used to work.
We don’t know who the Aldus Manutius of the current age is. It could be Craig Newmark, or Caterina Fake. It could be Martin Nisenholtz, or Emily Bell. It could be some 19 year old kid few of us have heard of, working on something we won’t recognize as vital until a decade hence. Any experiment, though, designed to provide new models for journalism is going to be an improvement over hiding from the real, especially in a year when, for many papers, the unthinkable future is already in the past.
For the next few decades, journalism will be made up of overlapping special cases. Many of these models will rely on amateurs as researchers and writers. Many of these models will rely on sponsorship or grants or endowments instead of revenues. Many of these models will rely on excitable 14 year olds distributing the results. Many of these models will fail. No one experiment is going to replace what we are now losing with the demise of news on paper, but over time, the collection of new experiments that do work might give us the journalism we need.
Who is going to save journalism? We are. Live blog and webcast the local school board meeting? Sure. Our focus shouldn’t be, as Shirkey points out, “Who is going to save the newspapers?” The better question is, “Who is going to save journalism?” And the answer is: We are.
Welcome to the revolution.
If you’re interested, btw, my shared items from Google Reader are available here, in my blog’s right sidebar, on the “content” page of my personal website as a FriendFeed embed, and on my FriendFeed page directly. We couldn’t do all that sharing in the 20th century when we “read the news” with an analog newspaper, could we?!
Bring on the StoryChasers. Stay tuned, updates on that front are coming soon. The revolution is in progress.
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On this day..
- STEM, iPad & Google Workshops in June 2015 - 2015
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- Using ARIS to Create Interactive, Multimedia Enhanced Field Trips by Wes Molyneaux - 2012
- Why Every Teacher Should Become an App Creator by Chris Thompson - 2012
- Blended, Continuous Learning in the 21st Century Military - 2011
- Finger Puppet Videography with the iPad2: Lessons Learned - 2011
- Celebrate National Library Week with Fabrarians: Freeze-n-Read! - 2010
- Wilson Rawls: Author of Where the Red Fern Grows - 2010
- Google Sites as a classroom learning portal - 2008
- If you just want to play games online, don't get an XO - 2008