A New Kind of Journalism


Posted on October 21st, by Michael Rosenblum in Journalism. 9 comments

michael-moritz-china-business-dailyblogspotcom

Net assets: 1.3 billion U.S. dollars

When I went to Columbia University the great hero of broadcast journalism was Edward R Murrow.

When I went to work at CBS, Murrow’s visage stared out at me in the lobby.  At NYU, where I taught for some 8 years, it was all Murrow all the time.  

For broadcast journalists, Murrow is their model and icon, and that in itself says a great deal about what is wrong with American journalism – far more than yesterday’s Columbia Journalism School report, by the way.

Murrow was, in the end, a tragic figure.  He was forced to compromise all along the way; he was fired by CBS and ended up in Public Broadcasting (see the parallels already); and in the end he died broken by cancer – a marginal figure in the industry he had helped build.

Making him our model, the figure so many journalists aspire toward tells us all we need to know about why journalism in America is in retreat.  

We aspire to be the employee, the tragic ink-stained wretch fighting the good fight but in the end, losing to corporate power.  It’s like something out of Dickens, but it’s us.

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism is no different.  Cronkite, though not nearly so tragic as Murrow, was also thrown out of power at the very height of his career, and ended up in… yes, Public Broacasting (thanks to the tireless efforts of his EP, Sandy Sokolow, who went with him).

And the man who pushed him out? Dan Rather?  Also broken at the end of his career, and in this case, finding a home on HDNET.  

Great.

Let’s all line up to emulate them.

Wrong!

So I have a new model now for a new kind of ‘robust journalism’.  This is the kind of stuff we should be teaching our students at Columbia, not Murrow.

His picture should be on the walls of every journalism institution.

The Michael Moritz School of Journalism.

Who?

Never heard of him, right?

Moritz is my model of where journalism should now go, and what journalists should aspire towards.

Michael Moritz.

Born in Wales, UK, Moritz studied history at Oxford University, received an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. Then he went to work for TIme Magazine.

Do you remember in 1982 when Time Magazine made the computer the ‘Man of the Year’?

Moritz wrote the article.

Then, he saw what was coming…..

In 1986, Moritz joined the United States Sequoia Capital, and invested in Yahoo and PayPal. The most successful investment was the initial investment in Google. The investment was only 12.5 million U.S. dollars, but now the market value is as high as 11.4 billion U.S. dollars.

He also made initial investments in Yahoo, PayPal and eBay.

Michael Moritz, journalist for the 21st Century.

Let’s teach our students how to do that.

Let’s teach our students to emulate Michael Moritz.

Let’s move our thinking in that direction.

To build the future. To own it.

Enough with the tragic figures broken by the ‘evil capitalists’.  We want to be the capitalists. We want ownership. We want to own. We want to be rich.  

It is not a crime!

And by the way, in creating Google, (and Yahoo and others) Moritz has done far far far more to drive the idea of a free press and open journalism than employee Walter Cronkite ever did. 

Far more.





9 thoughts on “A New Kind of Journalism

  1. I think we need to look no further than Rupert Murdoch to understand that marriages between capitalism and journalism can produce some bastard love children.

    Give me Ludovic Kennedy any day of the week. Like Moritz, he was an Oxford graduate but he distinguished himself without allowing commercial concerns to compromise his independence.

  2. Discussions about the future of journalism that reduce to a bunch of tenured teachers telling front-line journos to “take more risks” stick in the craw. Bravo for blowing the whistle on those dweebs.

    But the greed is good mantra (in 2009!) makes you appear foolish. As indeed does the assertion that Wales is in England.

  3. Ha. Already made the Wales/England fix. I am still learning. For those of us who didn’t grow up in the UK, the Wales is a country but not a country stuff is still a bit confusing.

    I read the Ludovic Kennedy obit in the Guardian yesterday, and he was most admirable, but without ITV where would he have been? We need a journalism that embraces both.

  4. The Tampa Tribune/Richmond Times Dispatch posted at $62.5 million dollar loss today. . . the handwriting is not on the wall, it’s a posted billboard.

  5. and may i remind folks that the “$62.5M loss” was with the finest polish their accountants could apply to the numbers.

    the use of “one-time items” to hide REAL figures is terribly tired.

  6. hehe – not as bad as GW’s foreign advisers who issued ID badges to the US press corps with “President’s official visit – Belfast, Ireland.

    England and Wales = England, Wales
    Great Britain – England, Wales, Scotland
    United Kingdom – England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland

  7. Thanks Digger
    (Hey, you aren’t the same Digger who does the sports column by the same name in the Guardian by any chance?)

  8. Reading Mr Downie’s piece in the FT was a thrill because it showed how many news sources and models for funding journalism there are and could be. I agree that keeping the state out of things would be a throughly good idea. But then I wrote a book called, “Scrap the BBC!”, which proposed a National Trust of the Airwaves as a way of “socialising” the funding of media in the cases where market failure is a problem. You may enjoy my new little piece on this stuff at livingissues.com.

  9. Pingback: “You’re human. You could never be a dinosaur.” « 24.7 journalism

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