Monday, October 19, 2009

Why the Crumbling of Old Media Is An Incredible Opportunity

The most amusing blog post I’ve read this year came from Jeff Jarvis, the BuzzMachine blogger and CUNY J-school prof, who has a reputation as a rebel when it comes to digital journalism.

“Yes, print is a burden,” Jeff wrote recently. “It’s expensive to produce for it. It’s expensive to manufacture. It’s expensive to deliver. It limits your space. It limits your timing. It’s stale when it’s fresh. It is one-size-fits-all and can’t be adapted to the needs of each user. It comes with no ability to click for more. It has no search. It can’t be forwarded. It has no archive. It kills trees. It uses energy. It usually brings unions. And you really should recycle it. Wow, when you think about it, print sucks.”

I don’t have to completely agree with Jeff, but I can certainly appreciate his viewpoint. The media’s analog-to-digital transition has been a monumental struggle for newspapers and magazines. It’s created massive fear in our ranks and has caused a good number of highly talented colleagues to escape our profession. But it’s also been an incredible opportunity to rethink what we do and how we do it. I’m an old print guy, now on the Web side of the business. And I’ve been utterly transformed by the experience. I think of online as the most creative space in our field, where writers and viewers combine to create the new New Journalism.

You can read more of my essay at MediaWeek here.

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