Fire starter for Journalism That Matters

Participants in the Journalism That Matters conference at Poynter were asked to bring a “fire starter” to get the discussion going, something “to spark a conversation about the emergence of a new news ecology.” Along with the assignment, we were given four examples of a fire starter:

1) From Rusty Coats, VP Interactive for Scripps:
Print is about stories. Digital is about search. So what will that mean for journalism?

2) From Borrell and Associates Media Researchers:
If you are a newspaper or TV station today, your brand is baggage.

3) From Morgan Stanley Technology/Internet Trends report 11/5/08
Uh-Oh. Online spending on newspaper Web sites is declining. So can Web advertising actually support the cost of gathering news?

4) From Bill Demsmore at the InfoValet Project at the Reynolds Journalism Institute:
If we don’t believe news information has value, why should our readers, viewers and contributors/collaborators think so?

On the plane from Seattle, I finally got around to reading “From the height of this place,” an internal memo from Google SVP Jonathan Rosenberg that was published on the Google Blog. I highly recommend it, and draw from it to offer my fire starter:

As written communication has evolved from long letter to short text message, news has largely shifted from thoughtful to spontaneous. The old-fashioned static news article is now just a starting point, inciting back-and-forth debate that often results in a more balanced and detailed assessment. And the old-fashioned business model of bundled news, where the classifieds basically subsidized a lot of the high-quality reporting on the front page, has been thoroughly disrupted.

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