Daily Archives: June 6, 2007

Vell, Zaphod’s just zis guy, you know?

I got the IM interview treatment from Bryan Murley over at Innovation in College Media last night. Hopefully I don’t come off sounding like I have two heads and three arms, if you know what I mean.

Regular readers of this blog (all three of you) have heard most of what I said, er, typed, before, and if you’ve actually met me in person, most if this is just my usual broken-record blathering on about how everything’s changing, get on the bus, etc.

One thing I do want to throw a little emphasis at is the last bit in the interview:

“Find yourself a favorite piece of online journalism, get in touch with the journalists who reported it, and you’ll find out how passionate online journalists are about the mission of newspapers and the craft of reporting.”

I really mean that, and the idea of tracking down the reporters and talking about comes straight out of the e-mail conversations I had with Katy Newton and Sean Connelley about the Not Just A Number project. That’s what I’m talking about when I try to point out that there is amazing and important work being done online.

A newsroom colleague (yes, you) wondered aloud earlier this week about whether that list I made left out the whole mission of journalism. Everything on that list is about getting out of the sad rut of layoffs, buyouts and mergers and getting back to the work of informing the public, one person at a time, for the sake of democracy — not profits.

If online readership were falling and people were leaving Facebook in droves and print circulation was off the charts, I’d like to believe I’d say the opposite. I’d say “Quit screwing around with video cameras and get back to the work of words-on-paper.” But that’s simply not the case.

I say, get creative everywhere. Print numbers dropping? Try something different in print. Re-arrange your front page. Rotate in a new columnist or two. Work up a big investigative piece that will get people talking about your paper. Don’t forget about your print edition in all your excitement about online. Ideally, both would be doing well, right? Right.