It started with a few principles
then progressed to online metrics
, new social networks
and it looks like it's going down in a firestorm over free content
. All the while, publishers of traditional print media are frantically wondering where it all went wrong.
What tangled web are Web journalists weaving, and where is it all going?According to Inside Higher Ed,
an online source for news, opinion and jobs for higher education, "journalism education is lagging behind industry in embracing the new media technologies that students will need to be competitive in the work place."
Not surprising if you recall that back 1995 an article in Quill
-- a publication of the Society of Professional Journalists -- called the ability to "deal with new media such as electronic newspapers or World Wide Web pages is nice, but not necessary."
I bet they're blushing now. Embracing the Internet is no longer about being nice; it's about remaining relevant.
Some say the problem lies with aging faculty in higher education. Longtime teachers can sometimes be resistant to learning new multimedia skill sets, or simply "don’t see the need to instruct undergraduates in the emerging platforms." They're not alone; many students aspire solely to be print journalists, unaware of the opportunities that live in digital media.
Yet through all this anxiety, a silver lining emerges. Insider Higher Ed
also reports that "approximately 91 percent of college newspapers had online presences in 2007" with many incorporating podcasts, blogs, RSS feeds, video and comments features.
Way to go students! Should the print industry learn how to embrace their online skills sets, which now include capturing and editing audio and video, they'll definitely be in demand in the marketplace of tomorrow. (That is, if they can stand the wait.)
In fact, the possessors of these skills are dubbed "new media titans" by the founders of Blogger and Podcaster Magazine,
a trade publication that first saw print and digital birth last May.
No longer is a journalist just gal with a pad and pencil, she is a Jane-of-all-trades, available to get the scoop and upload, edit and blog instantaneously. The newsroom, a well-filmed hub of editors and Guy Fridays busying themselves at a furious pace, is no longer relevant.
In a recent New Yorker article
, Paul Goldberger asked, What should a newsroom look like in the twenty-first century?
He answered the riddle after a visit with the offices at Bloomberg L.P., described as the epitome of a "newsroom truly designed for the electronic age."
The Bloomberg newsroom is "a workspace that could not have existed ten years ago." With no private offices, not even for the chairman or the CEO, "some four thousand employees sit in uniform rows at identical, white-topped desks bearing custom-built Bloomberg flat-panel computer terminals."
The office also provides a large, open space for folks to gather, seemingly "reconfigured for the computer age, when no one has time to sit down," while large screens relay news, market data, and other information constantly.
We can't all have a Bloomberg office, and admittedly most cyber-journalists are probably blogging from home or home-made offices. But as the way news is reported changes, so too does the venue in which it is born.
With advances in citizen journalism
, among other Web 2.0 enhancements, the medium for news is expanding, forcing tradition to give way to innovations that may appeal to new generations of newspaper readers more merely the bottom line.
The print media didn't go wrong; it's simply evolving, just as it did when it went from laying type to the printing press.
As the industry advances technologically, it needs to advance pedagogically as well - in the classroom, and
the newsroom. A new generation of reporters with multimedia skill sets should bring hope to the tired eyes of old school paper publishers. They might just be the ones to save the industry.