Let’s do lists. What’s good and bad about old style journalism?
“Journalists are white collar pros with blue collar myths. They romanticize anyone who can resolve the contradiction.”
Jay Rosen said this on Twitter this morning (our time). Rosen, of course, is the New York University academic who founded the civic journalism movement and who has written much of what’s worth reading about media futures. You can read his Pressthink blog here. It’s a primer in what’s going on, and could go on, in new media.
On Twitter Rosen was talking about this article by James Burnett in the Boston Globe. It is mostly an interview with another journalist, Mike Barnicle. For Australian readers the interview isn’t of that much interest, other than as an artefact full of romanticism and nostalgia about the craft.
Take if from me, you’ll hear this kind of thing wherever journos over the age of forty get together. I am over the age of forty. I can talk like this too.
And I would argue its not all bullshit. In fact , what better time than New Year’s Day to launch a project? I want to use this blog to compile three lists:
1. The things about old-style journalism that were good, but that we are likely to lose and should mourn.
My seed entries:
Foreign correspondents dedicated to providing a view of remote locations tailored to Australian audiences.
Sub-editors with a passion for the language and more general knowledge than Wikipedia.
2. The things about old-style journalism that were bad, and whose passing we should celebrate.
The arrogance that comes with privileged access to the means of publication.
Lack of accountablity
The bullshit “faux objective” voice, that often hides something that is not objective at all. (more on this here.)
3. The things about old style journalism that remain valuable and useful, and that we should strive to evolve and carry forward.
My suggestions: Disinterested journalism, meaning reportage driven by the evidence, rather than personal, commercial or partisan agendas
The art of finding things out – often underestimated, but the central trade skill and “dirty work” of the experienced and good reporter. Meaning that eventually someone is going to have to pay people to do it.
Submissions and arguments welcome.