If you read nothing else about newspapers and journalism in the digital age today, be sure to read these two pieces in The Atlantic and at Governing.com.
First, in The Alantic, an engaging essay on what a post-print New York Times might look like. In short, think a higher-minded, less partisan Huffington Post:
Forced to make a Web-based strategy profitable, a reconstructed Web site could start mixing original reportage with Times-endorsed reporting from other outlets with straight-up aggregation. This would allow The Times to continue to impose its live-from-the-Upper-West-Side brand on the world without having to literally cover every inch of it. In an optimistic scenario, the remaining reporters—now reporters-cum-bloggers, in many cases—could use their considerable savvy to mix their own reporting with that of others, giving us a more integrative, real-time view of the world unencumbered by the inefficiencies of the traditional journalistic form. Times readers might actually end up getting more exposure than they currently do to reporting resources scattered around the globe, and to areas and issues that are difficult to cover in a general-interest publication.
In this scenario, nytimes.com would begin to resemble a bigger, better, and less partisan version of the Huffington Post, which, until someone smarter or more deep-pocketed comes along, is the prototype for the future of journalism: a healthy dose of aggregation, a wide range of contributors, and a growing offering of original reporting. This combination has allowed the HuffPo to digest the news that matters most to its readers at minimal cost, while it focuses resources in the highest-impact areas. What the HuffPo does not have, at least not yet, is a roster of contributors who can set agendas, conduct in-depth investigations, or break high-level news. But the post-print Times still would.
Scary? Probably! But entirely inevitable.
Next, David Kinkade’s Twitter feed points us to this article on disappearing capitol bureau reporters and the ink-stained void they leave behind. In Arkansas, be thankful for Seth Blomeley. Lots of states are cutting back on legislative coverage:
Newspapers and radio stations are either abandoning or slashing their presence in Albany, Trenton, Springfield, Denver, Tallahassee, Austin, Sacramento, Oklahoma City — you name the capitol, the press corps is shrinking. Newspapers that once sent five people to cover state government are down to two and are pruning the space they get on the page; smaller papers have bailed out entirely; commercial radio is following the route television took years ago, parachuting reporters in for only the most attention-grabbing stories.
The move to online coverage is well underway, and the assumption in Hartford and elsewhere is that it will eventually provide a workable system, but at the moment the ground that’s been lost — in the investigations not launched, the tips not followed up, the decades of knowledge and experience that have walked out the door with buyouts or pink slips in hand — has yet to be regained.
Much more here.
UPDATED: The NYT responds to the essay, calling it “uninformed.” Gawker pokes holes in the Gray Lady’s rebuttal.
Filed under: business, Internet, Media, Newspapers, Politics | Tagged: David Kinkade, Gawker, Governing.com, government, Huffington Post, Internet, journalism, Media, New York Times, Newspapers, Politics, Seth Blomeley, The Atlantic |