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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

entry arrow8:01 AM | Newspapers are Dead. Murdered by the Internet. Long Live Journalism!

As a Mass Communication graduate, I am fairly troubled by the current downturn in the industry when one journalist after another are fast losing their jobs -- even the New York Post's legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith lost hers! -- simply because the Internet is here to stay and nobody buys newspapers and magazines anymore. Will the newspaper industry survive? What happens to my other profession when it has been pronounced officially dead? (Well, dead, obviously.) If it doesn't survive, what replaces the old system? Gawker's Clay Shirky tells us that it pays to take a close look at the 1500s when the printing press revolution shattered an old world, and brought in a form of "chaos," similar to what we have right now. I like this part:

Print media does much of society's heavy journalistic lifting, from flooding the zone -- covering every angle of a huge story -- to the daily grind of attending the City Council meeting, just in case. This coverage creates benefits even for people who aren't newspaper readers, because the work of print journalists is used by everyone from politicians to talk radio hosts to bloggers. The newspaper people often note that newspapers benefit society as a whole. This is true, but irrelevant to the problem at hand; "You're gonna miss us when we're gone!" has never been much of a business model. So who covers all that news if some significant fraction of the currently employed newspaper people lose their jobs?

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.

And then the money paragraph...

Society doesn't need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That's been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we're going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead.

Read the rest here.

[via jessica rules the universe]

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