Jeff Jarvis: It’s Journalists’ Fault

Posted by Sam Churchill on

I always enjoy reading Jeff Jarvis. He’s smart, knows the news business and can deliver a knockout punch. Like Steve Outing, he argues persuasively that newspapers should embrace the potential of story telling tools like SoundSlides, streaming video, location service, social networking and mobility.

It’s not his fault newspapers are dying:

Paul Farhi of the Washington Post issues a resounding apologia for journalists in the American Journalism Review, arguing that the fall of newspapers isn’t their fault. Then Roy Greenslade leaps up with a resounding hear! hear! They echo a defense earlier this year from Adrian Monck (who had decreed, “The crops did not fail because we offended the gods”).

Though I respect these three men, I must call bullshit.

The fall of journalism is, indeed, journalists’ fault.

It is our fault that we did not see the change coming soon enough and ready our craft for the transition. It is our fault that we did not see and exploit — hell, we resisted — all the opportunities new media and new relationships with the public presented. It is our fault that we did not give adequate stewardship to journalism and left the business to the business people. It is our fault that we lost readers and squandered trust. It is our fault that we sat back and expected to be supported in the manner to which we had become accustomed by some unknown princely patron. Responsibility and blame are indeed ours.

I find pleasure from a good story well told. Whether it’s This American Life: Another Frightening Show About the Economy (audio) or America’s Investigative Reports.

Nobody’s going to mourn the loss of commercial television “news” shows, but the depth of a newspaper’s newsroom will be hard to duplicate.

Still, the mobile arena is wide open. Hyper-local. Always engaged. Always on.

Every city will sprout a dozen Ted Turners, exploring new frontiers, plotting mashups, honing their craft. I can’t wait!

Posted by Sam Churchill on Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 at 10:16 pm .

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