I wrote a big piece on Fairfax in the Crikey email this morning. While I was ringing around and throwing questions at all the people who (if you believe them) never, ever talk to me I got a bit irritated by one thing. Every time I ask newspaper media executives about what innovations in journalism they are considering, I get either a blank or a rather aggressive ‘what do you mean’?
A quote from this morning’s research: “What do you mean. Journalists ring people up, they talk to people. What else can they do?”
Well, yes. Finding things out through observation and talking to people is the core trade skill of the journalist, and always will be. The willingness to pick up the phone or buttonhole someone is one of the things that distinguishes journalistic research from that done by academics. (And there is a potential series in that, too. Don’t start me.)
But in case people haven’t noticed, there are a couple of new things going on, and a few new potentials that are relevant to the gathering and consumption of information, and the way the act of publication works.
I have decided to start work on what might turn into a series about what I mean when I ask about innovation in journalism.
Titles I am playing with include “What Should Fairfax Do”. But that is unbearably arrogant, and focusses too much on that company.
But “Some Ideas I Wish Australian Newspapers Would Think About” doesn’t quite rate on the sexometer.
Anyway, I reckon I have enough ideas – largely drawn from my recent research trip to Europe and the USA – to fuel a few episodes. If anyone else wants to throw in more, feel free.
But just to be clear what I am NOT talking about. Serving up journalism on a new platform does not, in itself, constitute an innovation in journalism.
I am talking about THE PROCESS ITSELF.
Enough for now. Don’t want to steal my own little peal of thunder.