This is really annoying: The Nieman Journalism Lab created a series of articles on the “future of journalism” where they looked to people they openly said were the “smartest people we know” then put up a giant photo montage that shows a large group of white people – you have to focus to spot the lone black person.
So, scrolling through, this blogger found that black person’s article : noted political pundit Keli Goff’s work that focused on, sadly, race. By stark contrast, all of the takes written by whites had nothing to do with race – not one bit.
The entire effort sends out the message that when an organization like The Nieman Journalism Lab wants an expert opinion they’ll turn to someone white or light-skinned, and they save blacks they know for conversations about race.
What this also says about The Nieman Journalism Lab is also an overall reflection of the problem with journalism today, and why I’m happy to see it go away in its current form: the idea that journalist (who are white) know the answer and anyone else (black or of color) can’t possibly have the answer – unless it’s about race.
And looking deeper the overarching problem with journalism today, is this idea that to be useful in the a future of declining ad dollars rushing to far more than just one or two forms of media, the best use of journalism is to tell you what stories you should pay attention to – again, as if you’re so stupid you can’t figure it out for yourself.
And if you give an even deeper level of thought to the matter, that then is the reason journalism doesn’t work today: the nature of progress in digital media technology is such that tools like the iPhone give the user the ability to make their own media and platforms like Twitter give the same user the chance to pick and chose what news they wish to consume, and from a flood of content.
At times, because digital media slams together all demographic levels into one stew, what the teenagers consume becomes the trend – much to the displeasure of the supposedly better-knowing adult.
But it’s wrong to dictate to the teenager that what they like isn’t news – it’s news to them. Moreover, time and again, they prove the ability to make media that becomes the story. And that talent’s not confined to pop-culture, but to crimes like the Newtown Shooting.
This is the future of journalism: the people making content to meet the demands of other people, as reflected by an ever-more-efficient social media system.
Think about it.
So journalists need to get off their racist, elitist high horse, because technology’s taking it down such a massive peg that it’s going to be the size of a toy horse in the not too distant future.
What then should the future of journalism be? Teaching the common person how to be a better producer of news content. If you’re response is “They’re teaching their replacements,” well, they’re going to be replaced anyway – might as well make sure the newbies are good at what they do.