Clay Shirky Speaking The Unspeakable Truth About Journalism and Newspapers

14 03 2009


Clay Shirky just posted this thoughtful piece on journalism, the newspaper industry and its business model and the “revolution” that is taking place before our eyes.

I urge you to read the entire post, it’s very well articulated, clear and a great read. Here are a few of my favorite excerpts:

Revolutions create a curious inversion of perception. In ordinary times, people who do no more than describe the world around them are seen as pragmatists, while those who imagine fabulous alternative futures are viewed as radicals. […]

When reality is labeled unthinkable, it creates a kind of sickness in an industry. Leadership becomes faith-based, while employees who have the temerity to suggest that what seems to be happening is in fact happening are herded into Innovation Departments, where they can be ignored en masse. This shunting aside of the realists in favor of the fabulists has different effects on different industries at different times. One of the effects on the newspapers is that many of its most passionate defenders are unable, even now, to plan for a world in which the industry they knew is visibly going away.[…]

Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism. […]

When we shift our attention from ’save newspapers’ to ’save society’, the imperative changes from ‘preserve the current institutions’ to ‘do whatever works.’ And what works today isn’t the same as what used to work. […]

Shirky also discusses the digital landscape and its ramifications to the industry’s demise.

As a former reporter myself, I look upon this revolution in awe, shock, anger and frustration. It is clear the relationship between journalism and newspapers is coming to an end — or at least as it has been manifested previously. No one knows which model will fill the void come the collapse of the industry, as Shirky suggests; however, I’m optimistic — call it blind — that the foundation of good journalism and the need for investigative reporting will survive the transformation.

Advertisements (and an interview)

10 03 2009

It’s been a while.

Well, to get back in the mix, here’s a quick lil’ update: Grad school @ Hopkins almost done, got a job as a digital strategist and moving to the Waterfront DC. The latter is probably the most exciting 🙂

If y’all are interested, though, Jim Durbin over at interviewed me (I got my job via a posting on his site):

Chris Rottler applied to a position he found on the JobsinSocialMedia job board, and he’s now a digital strategist at a PR Firm. So one, if you’re a company looking to hire, it’s the {ahem} blue box to your right, and two, if you’re a candidate, hopefully these answers shed some light on what companies are doing. Congratulations, Chris.

1. You were hired from an ad here on JSM. What was the process to apply? resume submission, call, some other form of contact?

I e-mailed my resume and cover letter. They eventually contacted me for a phone interview, then I had to in-person interviews at the office.

2. Did the company have a clear idea what they were looking for, or did that role evolve over the course of the hiring process?

They had a pretty clear idea what they wanted/needed.

3. I tell candidates they are hired for their background, not their social media chops. Was that true for you? Did your background lead the way, or were they most interested in the results of your social media campaigns?

Mostly my background, but during the in-person interviews I was able to describe my social media experience. It’s a health communications firm and I had written for a couple of daily global health pubs at my previous job.

4. Did anyone hold the position before, or was it just created? And in what division do you reside? Marketing/IT/Corporate Communications/Other?

It’s a new position. I’m under the public affairs umbrella of the company.

5. Did they have a salary in mind when they approached you, or did you negotiate it as the position became clear?

They had a salary in mind.

6. Are there any current social media guidelines in place for the company?

We’re creating them right now 😉

7. Were there any competitors for your job? What strengths did you bring to the table that the company really liked?

I’m not sure how much competition there was. I think they company really liked my writing experience, as well as my knowledge of social media (tools, trends, etc.)

8. Did you have metrics of your success in place prior to your hiring, or will you write them after you get comfortable?

The latter 🙂

9. Care to pitch anything about the company?

This is my first week, so far so good 😉

Wow, I excessively use emoticons.