I want to make this a running issue of this blog, so this is the first of many missives on the topic. That topic is none other than the “death of journalism.” Yes, as a young journalist, it is entirely in my interests to complicate such prophecies, if not beat them back entirely. The last month or so of the year has seen a proliferation of articles bemoaning the state of news journalism, as successive cutbacks, buyouts, and bankruptcies keep everyone on their toes waiting for the latest “last breath” of the media. I want to address a lot of this commentary if not individually, then at least in a relatively focused way, and will attempt to do so in subsequent posts.

Here I want to lay out my basic philosophy — it doesn’t solve all the problems, but I think it does point in the right direction. The solution lies not in finding a way to sell what we currently find/found in newspapers on the internet. News content providers need to reimagine what it means to be just that: news content providers. This means thinking about the prossibilities of what it means to be a news content consumer. Accept as a given that the internet does and will increasingly dominate the way we get our news, as well as any other kind of media content. The internet allows for a new concept of what news actually is. It is not separated by text, audio and video, three forms of media that align with the print/radio/television trifecta of the old media content order. The internet allows us to craft new conceptions about how these tools complement and enhance each other. In doing so news content providers need to address both how people currently use the internet, and how the medium combined with the content can change the way people use the internet.

As I try out some of this thinking on friends and family who read news on the internet, but are not devoted RSS-subscribing, twittering (something I cannot get into), podcast junkies, I find that they are interested and willing to enter into the inevitable internet-only media landscape, but they remain troubled. A major concern that I hear is that the internet somehow cheapens the news; it shortens our attention span and ghettoizes us into receiving only the news we predetermine that we want. Imagining the news in its internet-centric form means providing the in-depth news experiences many crave through the experiences of both discovering the news through a print newspaper and amassing large amounts of information in a single sitting. Many news content providers already allow this to happen. Future posts on the topic will point to some of those and show how they do this well and where they can improve.

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Oh man, last minute “what the hell” moment. I just saw that the upcoming issue of the New Yorker has a feature on Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy!