August 25, 2011

Reimagining journalism in the age of social media


9 ideas for taking journalism to a new place

JD LasicaSocial media is far more than social marketing, which is why returns regularly to the subject of how social is reshaping the worlds of media and journalism.

I arrived in Santiago, Chile, on Tuesday to take part in a three-day event: first, a gathering of 150 journalism students from major universities in Chile on Tuesday. And today I’m giving the closing talk at a gathering of news executives, editors, reporters and academics from major publications and universities in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Venezuela, the United States and elsewhere, organized by Grupo de Diarios América — the world’s biggest online Spanish network with some 50 publications and sites with a reach over 50 million users per month — and held at the headquarters of El Mercurio, Chile’s best newspaper.

My colleague Chris Abraham asked me a few months ago to offer my thoughts on where journalism is heading — or ought to be heading — for the benefit of both those entering the profession and those trying to figure out how to navigate these choppy waters. So this seemed like a good way to do that.

Plus, I finally made it down to South America!

The presentation, embedded above and available for download or embedding on SlideShare, offers some ideas about how journalism might be reimagined in an age when more people are embracing the precepts of social media.

Questioning nine fundamental assumptions

I found that the two-day symposium had far too few opportunities for interaction (thankfully, the organizers thoughtfully provided translations for talks in Spanish that were broadcast into a Listen Display Receiver, a nifty mobile device and earpiece), and so I framed the presentation more as a series of questions rather than answers.

Many of the suggestions below — and for the now widely accepted idea that journalism should be thought of as a process, not a finished product — have been discussed by thought leaders in the space for years. It’s time to distill some of these ideas and reexamine them through the lens of journalism in South America. Here, then, are nine assumptions by journalists and media organizations, and suggestions on how those assumptions might be reconsidered or reimagined.

1Objectivity is our sacred goal. Yet, users are increasingly turning to transparency as the new yardstick of a news organization’s credibility. Is transparency the new objectivity?

2Content is all that matters. While people come for the content, they stay for the conversation. Shouldn’t journalists spend more time engaging with users and participating in conversations? Continue reading

April 27, 2010

Paths to the new journalism

The future of journalism will be more social & entrepreneurial

JD LasicaWith the business models of traditional news media in free fall, it’s a precarious time for journalism. Earlier this month I did an hourlong video chat with a class of journalism students at the USC Annenberg School and told them how much I admired their willingness to tackle journalism as a career even as everything we know about journalism and news is changing.

On Friday I gave a talk at NewComm Forum (NewComm as in New Communications), the annual gathering of communications, marketing, PR and new media thinkers in San Mateo, Calif. You’ll find it on (embedded above) under the title, “Social and Entrepreneurial: The paths to the new journalism.”

Everything about news and journalism is changing: the way it’s produced, the way it’s distributed, the way we consume it, the idea of who’s a trusted news provider, the conventions of journalism and what “news” itself means.

Jour­nal­ism is being rein­vig­o­rated by a new gen­er­a­tion of jour­nal­ists and pub­li­ca­tions, many of them small but deeply pas­sion­ate about the top­ics they cover.

As someone who still practices journalism (see: this blog) but left newspaper journalism in the late ’90s, my work as a social media strategist and years in Silicon Valley startups leave me saddened about the fate of newspapers — I estimate that 500 daily newspapers, most of them mid-size metros, will go out of business in the next five years. At the same time, journalism is being reinvigorated by a new generation of journalists and publications, many of them small but deeply passionate about the topics they cover.

They’ll be the ones who give shape to the new new news.

You’ll notice that the title of this post refers to “paths,” because the future will involve thousands of experiments and brave new ways of doing journalism, far from the one-size-fits-all era that is now ending (go to J-school, start out at a local daily, join a bigger metro newspaper, etc.). Continue reading