Here’s the problem with journalism

By Steve Outing

Did you see the Brodeur survey of journalists released the other day? “Brodeur Journalists Survey Identifies Blogs’ Influence on Traditional News Coverage.”

Flipping through the PDF version of the report, my jaw dropped when I saw this slide:

One in four journalist blogs. One in five has a page on a social network. Good grief, Charlie Brown!

The audience is marching online, in many cases switching allegiances to online and digital, or at least adding significant digital consumption to their media diets at the expense of traditional formats, and most journalists don’t move with them. News professionals can’t understand the transformation in media consumption if they don’t live it themselves. I think every journalist should blog, maintain pages on social networking sites, use new media-related websites (Twitter, Digg, et al), etc. (Just follow Howard Owens’ advice.)

It’s 2008, folks. My young daughters, apparently, are more attuned to the media reality than three-quarters of journalists. Do you expect to be relevant to them when they become adults if you don’t live in their world?

When I see stuff like this, I sometimes wonder if there’s hope for the news industry.

(Of course, I bet lots of people will look at the numbers above and think that it shows progress. Sure, some. But take a gander at recent headlines over at Romenesko, where hardly a day goes by that one or more of them aren’t about yet more newspaper layoffs. Journalists are not adapting fast enough to help their organizations make the necessary transformation to doing business in the Internet era. It’s not all the responsibility of those in the executive offices.)

Oh, and while my inner critic is letting loose, I’ll point out to Brodeur that the chart is confusing; a pie chart is not the correct graphic device to present the information above. (What can I say… I once was a newspaper graphics editor.) Pie charts can’t be used when multiple answers are possible, such as with the question above.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!

8 Responses to "Here’s the problem with journalism"

  1. […] Here’s the problem with journalism. I suspect there’s more than one problem with journalism, but Steve Outing has found an interesting one in the lack of reporter engagement with the online world. […]

  2. JohnofScribbleSheet
    JohnofScribbleSheet 9 years ago .Reply

    I do all 5!

  3. JohnofScribbleSheet
    JohnofScribbleSheet 9 years ago .Reply

    I do all 5!

  4. […] Meanwhile — in a related vein — New Media guru Steve Outing posted about the outrage he felt when he saw this pie chart in the Brodeur Journalists Survey: […]

  5. […] Start a blog. Yeah, I know, I’m always saying journalists should start a blog (interestingly, 27 percent of them have), but this time the advice isn’t about doing something to learn web culture, it’s to help your site’s SEO. To be useful, your blog can’t just be a link farm to your site.  You need to do real blogging, the kind of blogging other bloggers will link to, so you build good SEO credibility. When you do, you can use your blog to deep link to your own stories and to your favorite stories of your colleagues.  Google loves blogs.  Blogging is great SEO. […]

  6. Tom
    Tom 9 years ago .Reply

    The problem with posts like this is the presumption that blogs lie at the centre of the universe, and the closer that journalists get to achieving the state of electronic enlightenment that you have found, the closer they come to truly understanding the people they’re writing for.

    This isn’t true. Most people succeed in living modern, completely-connected, fully-engaged lives without writing a blog. Many might read blogs, but not everybody is cut out to routinely produce good content. The Internet is changing the way people get their media. But it’s not turning them into Techmeme clones.

    (On the flip side, it *does* strike me as odd – and inconsistent with my experience – that fewer journalists would have social networking profiles than blogs. Unlike blogs, social network pages *are* a part of many readers’ daily lives. On top of which, social networking pages are basic news-gathering tools today.)

  7. Tom
    Tom 9 years ago .Reply

    The problem with posts like this is the presumption that blogs lie at the centre of the universe, and the closer that journalists get to achieving the state of electronic enlightenment that you have found, the closer they come to truly understanding the people they're writing for. This isn't true. Most people succeed in living modern, completely-connected, fully-engaged lives without writing a blog. Many might read blogs, but not everybody is cut out to routinely produce good content. The Internet is changing the way people get their media. But it's not turning them into Techmeme clones. (On the flip side, it *does* strike me as odd – and inconsistent with my experience – that fewer journalists would have social networking profiles than blogs. Unlike blogs, social network pages *are* a part of many readers' daily lives. On top of which, social networking pages are basic news-gathering tools today.)

  8. […] Mais um estudo, desta feita a chegar-nos via Pedro Fonseca, o “Study: Social Media Impacts Speed and Tone of News Reporting, But Not Quality“, da Omnicom’s Brodeur. Aponta ainda para “Here’s the problem with journalism” que, entre outras, nos diz: It’s 2008, folks. My young daughters, apparently, are more attuned to the media reality than three-quarters of journalists. Do you expect to be relevant to them when they become adults if you don’t live in their world? […]

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