News Leadership 3.0

July 05, 2009

For journalism: More learning, less protectionism

Links: Three recommended posts to help journalists get up to speed on where the Web is going and why they’re really at risk of being left behind

It’s been one of those weeks when the gap between Old Journalism and New Internet seemed to widen by the hour
I empathize with people in traditional newsrooms who are watching their work spin freely out over the Internet while their cash-strapped owners resort to layoffs and furloughs. I am frustrated that the self-reinforcing culture of many newsrooms prevents smart, dedicated journalists from quickly understanding and embracing a new world of news and information.
I respect new media journalists and entrepreneurs who are justifiably impatient and frustrated when they hear journalists proposing protectionist ideas that just won’t work in today’s Web economy. These folks have moved on, and that has opened the way for them to innovate.
I worry that traditional journalists spend so much time mourning their losses that they will never catch up to a dynamic Web that is changing every day.
In the interest of speeding along the education, I want to suggest three short posts that are well worth reading.
Fatal Assumptions” from Steve Yelvington knocks down a recent American Press Institute report that suggested traditional publishers have a lot more control over the marketplace that seems realistic. In “Before journalists go to far in lobbying Congress, they might want to do some research,” John Temple dissects the idea that limiting copyright laws might help save newspapers.
Yelvington and Temple, both of whom have spent their careers in the newspaper industry, explain why there’s no going back.
As Temple wrote: “... newspapers have to find ways to grow new sources of revenue, not further isolate themselves with rearguard actions designed to protect their ‘franchise.’ “
The third post also comes from a newspaper editor, Jeff Sonderman, and it looks ahead to a very different future that is almost upon us. In “Five trends that will reinvent our news system in five years,” Sonderman describes where people are going to be on the Internet, and it’s probably not to your news site. Read him and think about how your journalism is going to meet these people when they get here.


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Exploring innovation, transformation and leadership in a new ecosystem of news, by journalist and change advocate Michele McLellan.

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