3 biggest fears about ‘future of journalism’ academia: Post-Industrial Journalism report conversation

Another in a long tradition of academic looks at the news industry landed last week with considerable attention among the new media community.

The Post-Industrial Journalism report from NYU’s Clay Shirky, Columbia’s Emily Bell and CUNY’s Chris Anderson has been far better dissected, in greater detail, by the Nieman Lab’s Josh Benton, so I’ll leave it to him. (Kindly Technically Philly is briefly mentioned in the report as a leaner version of journalism purveyors of today)

Instead, I wanted to share my three biggest concerns about journalism academia, as I had shared with Anderson this summer following a conversation I was a part of with the three authors and others at Columbia.

There are three big fears that I hold about the future of ‘journalism’ and I tried to express them during our conversation:

  • We are focusing our intellectual capital on big, national or international organizations (mostly New York based). It’s a bubble that doesn’t much relate to the kind of local journalism that is most at risk (or is most missing the chance to finally exist) and more directly impacts most of the world (and this country).
  • We are too focused on mostly traditional-looking news organizations, even like Technically Philly, while the real competition is with all of the organizations taking away possible revenue from journalism creators, which is something I recently wrote about.
  • We are not focused enough on pushing for the journalism mission onto those with the audience, which relates to the above, but also thinks about how mission-minded nonprofit, political opposition research and other wide-ranging organizations with agendas of their own are part of the process. i.e. Random acts of journalism can be created by anyone, so perhaps there is value in offering some encouragement for or research on more of them.

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