Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Keep your hat on

Kirk Vonnegut used to tell just the punchline of an old joke. "Keep your hat on," it went. "We could end up miles from here."

I have just realized tonight that, not only do newspaper people not know where journalism is heading in the internet age, no one does.

And that is a level playing field.

Thanks to Paul Westerdawg for linking to this today, out of the blue, on the 9th anniversary of my coming to work at The Macon Telegraph:
That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place. ...

When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to. ...

I don’t know. Nobody knows. We’re collectively living through 1500, when it’s easier to see what’s broken than what will replace it. The internet turns 40 this fall. Access by the general public is less than half that age. Web use, as a normal part of life for a majority of the developed world, is less than half that age. We just got here. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen.

6 comments:

Nick said...

9 years in Macon, WOW!

Paul Westerdawg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Westerdawg said...

The bummer of the comments about that article on my blog....it was clear most folks didn't read it.

To many people still can't separate journalism and journalists from newspapers.

Journalism can still thrive. It just needs to find the new distribution vehicles that make financial sense. Because the printed newspaper doesn't.

Lucid Idiocy said...

Whoever figures that out is going to be rich.

Joy said...

Thanks for giving me something to chew on.

Anonymous said...

As the article pointed out, '“You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone!” has never been much of a business model.' But that seems to sum up what many of the dwindling number of people in newspapers are saying. The people who will come up with the effective new business models are probably not those spending too much time mourning the old newspaper model. It was fun while it lasted. But it's over.