Journalism and the new news ecology — storytelling and communities (2008)

This document was originally created May 4, 2008 by Journalism That Matters team members.

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The future of journalism centers around the power of storytelling to create healthy communities.  Specifically:

  • Cultivating “healthy journalists”, renewing the inner life of the journalist;
  • Preparing the next generation, with an eye towards the emerging citizen journalist; and
  • Inventing a new economic model. As one participant put it, “Rather than further compromise the work, it’s time to separate journalism from its current funding sources and find a new model.”

Some of its seeds include:

  • Journalism as a conversation – a groundbreaking shift from journalism as a lecture;
  • Shaping a new “master narrative”— Recovering the mythic story of journalists as conveners and navigators through a changing world prepares them to support communities in shaping a new national “master narrative” for our times.
  • High tech/high touch journalism – Whether on the web or in the café, new storytelling forms are emerging that engage us on cell phones and iPods, and in gathering places with food, music and the arts; and
  • Ready, Fire, Aim – A strategy of “just do it,” moving from idea (ready) to implementation (fire) without months of planning (aim).

By metaphorically removing the newsroom walls and taking the journalist out of the cube, the qualities of the new news ecology emerge.

CURRENT NEWSROOM NEW NEWS ECOLOGY
Journalism as…
Lecture conversation
low tolerance for experimentation (like peanut butter in the fridge; it doesn’t move) community of innovation
central authority community connector
knowledge-centric relationship-centric
one-to-many many-to-many
profit-driven mission-driven
Accurate, verified and fair Transparent, accurate, verified and fair

 

Journalist as…
 outsider community member
 lone wolf collaborative partner
gatekeeper sense-maker
focused on the external world focused on their inner life and the external world
expert, arbiter of truth coordinator, facilitator, convener, evaluator, refiner
Journalist as…

 

professional, dispassionate professional and citizen, passion in the mix
content creator content creator and guide

 

Content that…
arouses inspires engagement
publisher owns and creates public owns and creates
answers who, what when, where, why and how contextualizes purpose – why the audience should care – and answers who, what when, where, why and how
pours around the ads serves a greater good
follows the inverted pyramid edited for readability, not style

 

Stories sourced…
from within the news organization from many people and places
are deadline driven are continually unfolding

 

Dissemination of stories…
media specific multi-purpose (e.g., print, broadcast, web, podcast, cell phone, etc.)

 

Economics…
ad supported multiple sources of support
high cost of production and distribution low-cost distribution
most of the cost is not journalism costs mostly journalism related

 

Education …
for journalists for:
*   journalists
*   the public
*   “citizen journalists”
in journalism’s values and tools in:
*  media literacy for everyone
*  journalism’s values and tools
*  the art of engagement