“Learn what you need to unlearn about Journalism”: The 11th obvious thing about the future that journalists need to get through their heads 6/3/07Posted by Steve Boriss in Future of news, Journalism, Newspapers.
Ryah Sholin has compiled this excellent list of “10 obvious things about the future of newspapers that journalists need to get through their heads.” I’d like to add an 11th, although it might more appropriately be placed on a list of “not obvious things.” And that is, “Start a blog so you can learn what you need to unlearn about Journalism.” By operating your own blog, you will quickly learn that: 1) Most readers have never really wanted “objectivity” in news. They are neither experts nor policy analysts — they want the benefit of your opinions and guidance on how to interpret issues; 2) You are not as unbiased as you think you are, nor is anyone else. You will see immediately that the simple act of deciding which stories to cover blatantly reveals your biases; 3) Your claims to provide more highly verified information, even if true, will not necessarily give you an edge in gaining your readers’ trust. Many actually prefer receiving rough, less verfied news more quickly, provided it is identified as such, updated for accuracy over time, and retracted when it is found wrong; and 4) Like it or not, you must respect the tastes of your audience. In the end, it is readers who will decide what “news” is, not those who sustain this relatively new, 80 year-old quasi-profession called “Journalism.” In fact, readers are rewriting what “news” is right now, so there’s never been a better time to forget what you learned.