Thursday, January 1, 2009

The new journalism: why "context" matters and "mirroring" does not

I stumbled upon a provocative blog on the future of reporting and journalism at Written by Matt Thomspon, a research fellow at the Missouri school of journalism, it effectively argues that "context" is what's important, not simply "mirroring the community" (my words, not his) by reporting the latest driveby or what happened at the courthouse. This is important stuff because I believe it speaks to the increasing irrelevance of what comes out of newsrooms today. Too many reporters and editors don't have a clue who their core readers are, and they hide behind their own narrow definition of "news" as something that simply happened. From the blog:

Until recently, newspaper editors defined news as “important developments over the past 24 hours.” Editors of newsmagazines might expand that time horizon by a few days; Web editors will contract it to within a few hours. But there’s no escaping the time-bounded nature of “news.”

My understanding of journalism is broader. To me, journalism is the constant effort to deliver a truer picture of the world as it is. The “latest developments” provide one lens through which to capture that picture. And as long as journa
lism was primarily delivered by static media, that lens made perfect sense.

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