Steve Boriss writing at Pajamas Media says reporters are a dying breed and that’s a good thing. They are mere “unnecessary recyclers of news.”
The downfall of the reporter it seems, it that she turns out to be human, “the public increasingly understands that reporters are often biased and inaccurate, just like the rest of us.”
He says Internet is destroying reporters as the middlemen between news and audience.
Boriss is nothing if not consistent. Earlier this month he explained “why modern journalism will be extinct long before polar bears.”
And also this month, he suggested that blogging is simply journalism without the organizational overhead that tends to screw it up.
In that one, he said:
Blogging allows personal style, journalism doesn’t. Blogging allows opinion, journalism doesn’t. Blogging gets news out immediately, journalism doesn’t. Blogging allows the writer to take risks, journalism doesn’t. Blogging allows rumors to be followed by updates, journalism doesn’t. Bloggers are independent of oversight by editors who slow down publication while removing the style, opinion, rumors, risk, and edge. Journalists aren’t. Oh, and there’s one more difference. Blogging is growing because news consumers prefer all of the above. Journalism isn’t.
Aren’t many journalists bloggers? Isn’t mainstream media adopting in varying degrees a blogging publishing style? Couldn’t quite a bit of blogging, even by people who don’t call themselves journalists, be journalism?
Boriss is tackling issues such as those and more as Associate Director of the Center for the Application of Information Technology at Washington University in St. Louis and as the author of a blog called “The Future of News,” whose goal is to “make a small contribution toward the emergence of better news products and services than are available to Americans today.”
As a journalist, I can’t imagine news without reporters despite the structural changes to the mainstream media. I also don’t think it requires professional journalists to report or capture news.
While the short term outlook for media companies is dour and journalists are being laid-off, the long-term prospects for the function of journalism is quite bright.
And it’s for the reason that Boriss points to:
We will continue to have news middlemen, but those that survive must create real value for their audiences. Editors can create value by aggregating, analyzing, adding opinions, and gathering like-minded audiences for advertisers.
He’s correct there, I believe.
The service that journalists can ably perform is helping people make sense of the multitude of competing voices in the marketplace of ideas. The Internet is a perfect pandemonium, requiring more filtering, aggregating (or collecting and organizing), pointing and selecting than ever before.
And there’s a still a great role to be played in community service journalism.