How Newsroom Bosses Can Discuss the Media Industry Crisis

There’s lots in the air now about the crisis in local journalism and various efforts to revive it. But framing the issue as a crisis has an effect on local newsrooms. How should managers talk to their staffs about the need for urgency on the issue without communicating a sense of doom?

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One thought on “How Newsroom Bosses Can Discuss the Media Industry Crisis

  • February 27, 2019 at 10:25 am

    If it’s not a crisis, it is not newsworthy. Unless it’s a feature. This would make a great feature story. It needs a people-centered angle.

    What we don’t need is process stories. This whole “technology is an emerging process” narrative has no place in news.

    The emergence of free online ads, crowd-curated “encyclopedias,” a proliferation of multiple new direct-to-consumer channels dominated by the most shrill panderers, use of those channels by public officials to bypass traditional media’s gatekeeping role, the increasingly improbable least-common-denominator “average person” implied by increasingly large markets, the disintegration of what is “local” in a society defined by mobility and technological linkages — these might make good topics for a book, but it they are not topics editors or publishers need to focus on while trying to train young journalists fueled by political passion to create the best click-bait headlines and to produce stories that look like news but appeal primarily to whatever partisan segment of a market the outlet has chosen to prefer.

    But CJR is definitely right to inform editors and publishers that journalists should be absolved in advance of any guilt for the direction of their profession. “You’re not the problem,” the article offers as the first word of advise for reporters.

    That’s something those pundits parading as reporters on network news need to hear. Anyone who tried to emulate their skillful use of journalism tools to advance partisan interests should be commended, not criticized, and absolutely not allowed to slide into a senseless spiral of soul-searching and self-correction. If that happens, next thing we know we will have journalists testifying to Congress about why they lied to protect their bosses. We must not allow that to happen.


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