Fortune Magazine this week published its list of “Worst Jobs for 2015“.
Top of the list: Newspaper Reporter.
And not far behind, Broadcaster and Photojournalist.
The old-school journalism business is not looking too promising.
Let me emphasize the ‘old school’ part of that.
We are witnessing a far greater transformation in society and the economy and the world of work than just a few newspapers going out of business. This is a change wrought not by mismanagement, nor the ‘greed’ of the ‘1%’. Rather, it is a change wrought by the new technologies of the Digital Revolution and the Internet. Whole industries are being wiped out, and we are only at the very beginning.
I am reading The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity In A Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andre McAfee. Despite its rather long title, it makes for a … Read More »
All the news that’s fit to print….
I am old.
I am so old that I still like to start each morning with a printed, paper newspaper at breakfast.
I could read the paper online, on my iPad or my phone, but there is something enormously satisfying about the physicality of the paper.
I have the NY Times delivered to my home every morning.
This morning’s NY Times was noticeably thin.
In fact, most of the NY Times delivered to my house have been noticeably thin. Thinner and thinner.
It isn’t for lack of content. It is for lack of advertising.
Watching the NY Times waste away before my eyes, at my breakfast table, is like having a close relative who is slowly dying of some wasting-away disease. It’s an incremental thing, but my God.. you have lost a lot of weight.
And, as with the relative, this can’t … Read More »
In 1989, I went to work for Jan Stenbeck, the ‘Ted Turner’ of Scandinavia.
Stenbeck was building the first commercial TV networks in Sweden, Norway and Denmark – TV3.
As with any TV network, we went out to buy a lot of programming. One of the hottest TV shows that year was America’s Funniest Home Videos (remarkably, still on the air). You could buy the format rights, which we did. The only problem we had with making the show work was that almost no one in Scandinavia owned a home video camera. So we had to ship home video cameras out to people so they could shoot the ‘funniest home videos’.
Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t.
But the greater lesson here was the rarity of home video cameras in the late 1980s. Even in the US, people might have had a home video … Read More »
Engraving by Willy Stöwer: Der Untergang der Titanic 1912 by Wikicommons Media
When the Titanic went down in the Atlantic Ocean in 1912, it was one of the very first ships in the world equipped with a new-fangled piece of technology called ‘radio’.
As a result, as the ship slipped into the cold sea, the radio men were able to continue to broadcast the dire event, as it happened. Some 2000 miles away, in a storefront window in Manhattan (so the story goes), a young David Sarnoff, an employee of The Marconi Company was able to receive the radio messages from The Titanic.
When word of the disaster got out (courtesy of Mr. Sarnoff and radio), massive crowds gathered in the streets in Manhattan. But they didn’t gather in front of The New York Times building. Instead, they gathered in front of Wannamaker’s … Read More »
Walter Scott murder caught on iPhone
Last week, following the MoJoCon in Dublin, there followed a heated discussion about the value of the ‘journalist’, culminating (perhaps) in an article in The Guardian by Roy Greenslade.
My argument had been, and remains, that the arrival of cheap and powerful new technologies like the iPhone now make everyone a ‘journalist’, (but in fact the very term is something of an anachronism). The journalists in the room (and online) were outraged. These are only tools, they argue. “Nothing can ever replace the professional journalist.”
Ironically, a few days later, the all too unfortunate and all to real smoking gun arrived.
Walter Scott, as the world now knows all too well, was gunned down by office Michael T. Slager. The incident was captured on an iPhone by Feidin Santana – very much NOT a professional journalist.
OK. So … Read More »
Millions of views…
In 2008, when Hillary was running for President (the first time), my wife and I were invited to a ‘Clinton Fundraising Dinner’ in the Hamptons.
For a mere $10,000, we got a David Bouley dinner (which was not bad), but!, we also got about 30 seconds to ‘talk to Hillary’, one-on-one.
(To be fair, my wife Lisa was seated next to Bill for part of the ‘desert course’. The Clintons furiously rotate seats during the meal).
Our interest, however, was to talk to Hillary.
When you only have 30 seconds or so, you tend to get to the point quickly. So she did.
“Your online videos are terrible,” she said.
This got the candidate’s attention.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
Now, my wife speaks with a proper BBC British accent, so in the US, what she says ‘carries’.
Combine that with Downton Abby and you … Read More »
CBS Sunday Morning (a show I used to work on, and maybe the best news show on TV) ran a piece this morning in which CBS News correspondent Clarissa Ward endeavored to explain the differences between Shia and Sunni.
The fact that the US has been embroiled in a series of wars in that region for the past 14 years makes this perhaps too little too late, but hey, better than nothing.
The ‘report’ was peppered with historical errors and vast over-simplifications. But, as this is Television, I suppose Ms. Ward and CBS News can be forgiven.
Yet they have had so much time to learn the history of the region and ‘teach’ (and this is no bad thing) some important facts to Americans, (who are dying in these lands for quite some time now).
We have been embroiled, one way or the … Read More »
For the past few days I have been writing about the ‘death’ of journalism as a profession.
This morning, I got an email from a classmate of mine at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (Class of 1983).
She wrote: “I Actively try to talk people out of it”
A career in journalism, that is.
And good advice.
Jobs are few and far between and evaporating all the time.
That doesn’t mean that there is no future to ‘journalism’. There simply is no future to the way that we currently define it, and more importantly, teach it.
Here, I speak from experience. I taught at both Columbia University’s journalism school and NYU’s Journalism School. I have seen first-hand what they teach, and more importantly, how they perceive the profession (or is it a craft?)
Unlike Law or Medicine, professions who have a history of thousands of years … Read More »
Yesterday, a New York City cop made the mistake of cursing out an Uber taxi driver while his passenger recorded the whole thing on video.
This was a big mistake, because today he was removed from his job on the ‘Terrorism Task Force’.
A big mistake.
In a way, I feel sorry for the cop.
(Well, not THAT sorry).
But he is old. He grew up in an era when creating video and ‘broadcasting’ it was something special, expensive and complicated. People like 60 Minutes did it. And you knew when 60 Minutes was recording. After all, they had a big crew of like a dozen people, with lights, and microphones and Mike Wallace. When you saw Mike Wallace, you knew it was time to shut up. Mike Wallace was a ‘journalist’. 60 Minutes was a TV news show. You knew where you were.
Now, … Read More »
The British aren’t coming….And apparently neither is anyone else….
The newspaper business is dead.
Yesterday, Comcast offered to buy The New York Daily News for One Dollar.
And I don’t mean one copy of it. I mean the entire business.
For people of a certain age (or profession – i.e., journalists), this kind of news is nothing short of unbelievable.
There was a time when newspapers were the powerhouses of the media world – and licenses to print money.
They have been destroyed by technology.
That’s how it happens.
One day you’re Blockbuster, the next, just busted.
And as go newspapers today, so goes TV news tomorrow. It is, alas, inevitable. And all the denying and crying about the ‘importance’ of ‘good reporting’ is about as relevant as the ‘importance’ of ‘good handwriting’ when books were still written by hand. Bye bye.
But, if this is true (and I … Read More »