I’m just getting through this post by Emily Bell at CJR. I haven’t yet gotten to the piece she references but I hope to in a bit. Her focus interests me, not only because I think the future of news is a fascinating discussion, but also because I’m already familiar with the writing of Rosen, Shirky and Jarvis (although far more in a PR context for Jarvis). I think this, which Bell writes near the end, this is true:
The suggestion that the Internet has “disempowered” journalists is just not true. In a global context it is willfully wrong. But even in the narrow context of journalism in the US, to say that individual journalists are disempowered by a medium that allows for so much more individual reporting and publishing freedom is baffling. If this case is made in the newsroom context of reporters having too much to do, then maybe this is an institutional fault in misunderstanding the requirements of producing effective digital journalism. Unlike the pages and pages of newsprint and rolling twenty-four-hour news, there is no white space, no dead airtime to fill on the Internet. It responds to 140 characters as well as to five thousand words.
If I couldn’t get news from the Internet, I genuinely have no idea what my political outlook would be like. I certainly think it’d be a lot less well-informed, both in terms of information and variety of perspective. I look forward to reading Starkman’s piece so that I can figure out whether Bell is giving him a fair shake. Hopefully, I’ll have the time to do that soon.