So I’ve finished my story for the day, and I’m sitting here observing my fellow journalists, all of whom had to sit through this session with a guy from the Washington Post about multimedia journalism and how to apply it to your paper.
And damn, do they all sound so bitter.
“This is something we could never do.”
“He basically wants us to give up on thoughtful journalism, pick up a video camera and act like idiots.”
“We’d have to double this newsroom to pull that off.”
There’s one hopeful voice among the crowd.
“It sounds very exciting and informative, and I look forward to the challenge.”
So this is now going to tie back into Mike and Annie’s thoughts last weeks on this very subject…
It’s interesting how one of them thinks this is going to kill his journalism career. He didn’t even sit through the entire meeting. Rather, he left early, disgusted with what this “30-year-old know-it-all” had to say. OBVIOUSLY, if you’ve only studied print journalism, that’s all you should have to focus on. OBVIOUSLY, the Web is a bad thing. OBVIOUSLY, he shouldn’t care or give a damn about it because this isn’t ever going to affect him, and if it does, he’s quitting.
Then there’s all the people who think it’s interesting, but don’t think they could possibly pull it off. It would take too much work for any one person to report and figure out how to present the information in a different format.
This is coming from professionals who have worked at various news outlets for years.
And this is what I have to say to them:
Get over it.
Stop whining, you big babies. This isn’t going to kill your careers and if you try hard enough, you will be able to pull it off. It’s called versatility and flexibility.
The future of journalism is here, and if you don’t accept it for what it is, you will be left behind. You’ll be thought of as old-fashioned, with no innovation whatsoever. Your protest of this is what will bring the end for you.
Print journalism and online journalism can co-exist. They can enhance one another. They can bring about ways of creating new venues for information that will appeal to both print readers and Web surfers. Multimedia isn’t scary – it’s interesting, it’s exciting, it’s a new way to tell a story.
You still want to get the most relevant information to your readers in the fastest way. You still need it to be concise and well-written, well-designed and well-packaged. The packaging just looks different that what you’re used to.
The rulebook hasn’t changed. It’s just expanded.
Newspapers can still and will continue to exist. There’s a feeling of ink smearing on your fingers, a feeling of seeing something on a printed page, a feeling of finality, that the Web can’t reproduce.
It’s not like with new technology, “old” journalism is going out the window. The world still needs people to report and interpret for them. The world still needs journalists to find the stories that will make a difference.
The world still needs you.