Can serious journalism save the day?

By Steve Outing

I liked media consultant Alan Mutter’s latest blog item, “It’s time to rip the lid off,” in which he urges newspapers to get serious about doing hard-hitting journalism in order to save themselves.

His advice complements my thoughts as expressed in my most recent Editor & Publisher Online column.

Publishers, now operating with severely lessened resources, need to stop focusing on the less important stuff and put everything they’ve (still) got into producing quality journalism, Mutter says.

“All but the most aggressively down-sized paper can generate excitement on a day-to-day basis by practicing the sort of muscular, crusading journalism that afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted by kicking over rocks, exposing social injustice and holding public officials and corporate leaders to account.”

It’s becoming pretty clear: Newspapers cannot continue to cut staff and cut back while continuing to try to serve everyone and try to attract new younger readers. Focus the print effort on print loyalists who are older and want serious journalism. Bring younger people to the newspaper brand by developing and improving digital offerings (web, mobile).

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!