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!