Restructuring the newsroom

4 Apr

Radical changes in the media landscape and how news organizations are dealing with these changes has resulted in many turning to the idea of a complete overhaul of the current system.

In response to an essay by Dean Starkman called “Confidence Game,” NYU professor Clay Shirky asserted that the experiments of today are paving the way for systems to be in place for later developments about how news outlets are organized. The best way news organizations can cope with the dynamism of their own industry is to embrace the ideals of these changes. Digital means quick, and daily newspapers that have become accustomed to filtering news through an entire workday must adapt to meet the expectations of an evolving audience.

“There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening.” — Marshall McLuhan

Institutions like The New York Times could not have survived today by resting on their laurels; they have fluidly accepted the shifting landscape. Outlets must be constantly aware (“constant vigilance” for all you Harry Potter fans) and thinking — an idle mind is the lazy journalist’s workshop. Instead of succumbing to “inevitable” changes, media should consider all the possibilities of how to incorporate the new ideals of the public to best suit their own organization.

I Googled "constant vigilance" and this is what came up.

Even in college, new age media has been rivaling long-standing local print media institutions. Small news teams relying on outside help through crowdsourcing are able to cover a wide array of subjects and events through a dedicated, engaged readership that the larger staffs who are still spread so thin on a daily basis are struggling to keep up. Journalism students now are encouraged to not only blog and use all sorts of online media, but to blog about and explore this new technology as well.

What really needs tweaking is how two viewpoints like Starkman’s and Shirky’s hold completely reasonable amounts of water. Starkman’s plea to reinvent old organizations instead of forming new ones can be combined with the approach bloggers have taken to overtake Old Reliables. What the media industry needs is a steady balance of both reinventing old favorites and embracing the fresh approach of online outlets generally run by a digitally-savvy younger generation.

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