Friday, March 20, 2009

"Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism."

A brilliant perspective on the changing media landscape, drawing analogies from the past to highlight the inevitable and the imminent - Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable:

"Revolutions create a curious inversion of perception. In ordinary times, people who do no more than describe the world around them are seen as pragmatists, while those who imagine fabulous alternative futures are viewed as radicals.

...shunting aside of the realists in favor of the fabulists has different effects on different industries at different times. One of the effects on the newspapers is that many of their most passionate defenders are unable, even now, to plan for a world in which the industry they knew is visibly going away...

That is what real revolutions are like... The importance of any given experiment isn’t apparent at the moment it appears; big changes stall, small changes spread. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen. Agreements on all sides that core institutions must be protected are rendered meaningless by the very people doing the agreeing.

...And so it is today. When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution.

...Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That’s been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we’re going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead."


(via twitter @suryanair)
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