Is it journalists’ fault?

A brand new blog, gathering together a load of thoughts, comments and rants that have thus far been atomised across the web. You can read what this blog is for here.

First post is fittingly some thoughts on this recent post from Jeff Jarvis, his own response to posts by Paul Farhi and Roy Greenslade.

The debate: is it journalists’ own fault that their trade is now teetering on the brink of extinction?

Farhi and Greenslade’s position is no: the lowly journalists are not to blame, and instead it’s the blame should be pinned to the suits – the business folk who failed to adapt or invest quickly enough to keep pace with huge economic and technological changes.

Bullshit, says Jarvis: journalists should have taken an active role in shaping new business models, should have engaged with new media and new relationships, and should not have assumed that they had a right to paid for doing what they do in the way they currently do it.

Both sides of the argument are put forward in an uncompromising, both have flaws.

Jarvis nails the holes in Farhi’s argument in particular, and his professed desire to empower journalists rather than beat them up is admirable. But that touches on a hole in his own argument – namely that the old MSM was never set up to empower journalists to be involved in the business side of the operation, and traditional journalism training has never covered this vital aspect of the real world.

I know of countless journalists who are sitting frustrated in media institutions desperately trying to get changed enacted or new ideas assimilated, and being ignored. Without management buy-in, it’s impossible to change existing structures or working patterns – which brings us back to the suits.

The suits sign off the major decisions, particularly if they involve investment. The suits have the power. So while it is fine to say that journalists as a large group could have done more to embrace the new world, I can guarantee that there are a wealth of great ideas from ground roots journalists that have been rejected because a suit doesn’t understand them or the idea doesn’t fit easily onto an existing spreadsheet.

We can remedy this. Of course, journalists need to learn from the suits. They need to be actively involved in coming up with new business models. But that will only happen in existing media organisations if the journalists are actually listened to.

Advertisements



    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: