Newspapers vs. The Internet

Quote of the Day: "News will continue, but what shape will it take?" -- Columbia Journalism Review

There has been so much talk lately about the death of print newspapers and how citizen journalists (bloggers, etc.) are usurping the role of breaking news stories. The so-called battle between traditional newspapers and New Media has shaken up the journalism industry.

A couple of recent initiatives explore this issue:

The Columbia Journalism Review examines the Internet and the professional news industry, as they write: "first separately, then together again—in an ambitious project called Press Forward, ...In a series of essays, Q&As, and other dialogues, CJR’s Megan Garber and Justin Peters will explore news's past as a way of guiding its future. We'll question common assumptions and examine orthodoxies—with an eye toward ensuring, above all, that we preserve what’s valuable in journalism as new technologies do their part to redefine the informational landscape.
The series begins...with a pair of essays and a conversation about The Purpose of News, the Purpose of the Internet."

Daniel Latorre brought this next interesting tidbit to my attention through the Media Ecology Association's listserv: German journalists posted 17 declarations on how journalism works today in an "Internet Manifesto." As Daniel writes, "Journalism continues to catch up to reality, getting unstuck from its print bias and stumbling on, mastering the new biases in our networked communication environment."

I think people in the news industry failed to see the potential for revolutionary change in communication as the online media emerged and developed. They were slow to change their business models to incorporate the new tools and technologies at their disposal and now, with other factors like the economic downturn taking a toll, they are paying the price. The solution is not to view the Internet as the enemy, or even as the savior, but to view it as a partner along with other media to help communicate the news to the public and create a dialogue with the citizens and communities they aim to serve.