Clay Shirky: ‘a bad thing is going to happen’ to journalism

New York University new media professor Clay Shirky speaking at Harvard University in September 2009.

I’m not one for posting video clips on this site, nor am I about doing so more than two months late.

But then, by way of the Nieman Journalism Lab, I only now came across a lecture New York University new media professor and internet intellectual Clay Shirky gave to the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy back in September.

Watch video below and be reminded why Shirky — who doesn’t necessarily have any traditional line-item journalism resume builders — gets a seat at the serious discussion of where news is going.

“It’s amazing to me how much, in a conversation conducted by adults, the possibility that maybe things are just going to get a lot worse for a while does not seem to be something people are taking seriously,” Shirky was quoted by Nieman as saying. “I don’t think there’s any way we can get out of that kind of thing. So I think we are headed into a long trough of decline in accountability journalism, because the old models are breaking faster than the new models can be put into place.”

I sat and watched the brilliant 40-something’s 30-minute presentation from the video below. If you have any interest in these conversations on the future of news — which are almost always built on the premise that, yes, there is a new journalism business model — you will, too.

Shirky’s remarks are also followed by some other conversation and questions, as can seen below.

I don’t yet — I say yet — have as dire a perspective as Shirky does, but his perspective is important because I don’t know of too many other people who speak so candidly about fears of journalism beginning a long trip into extinction.

You might think instead of how movable type in the 15th century didn’t ruin the distinction of the published word but brought on millions of new authors, perspectives and, yes, business models.

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