The lucky and talented Knight News Challenge winners have joined us here at MIT this week to explore “The Future of News and Civic Media.” As they arrive, I am preparing to depart. This farewell post for C4FCM is inspired especially by them and by four experiences here this spring:
…MIT Prof. William Uricchio observed that old media make us feel like “a passenger in the back seat of the car, howling at the driver.”
…Phil Balboni debated a skeptical MIT student about news “objectivity” at Balboni’s new online GlobalPost venture http://civic.mit.edu/watchlistenlearn/video-c4fcm-lecture-series-the-fut...
…Harvard’s Shorenstein Center handed out prestigious Goldsmith investigative reporting prizes to mostly old media folks http://www.hks.harvard.edu/presspol/news_events/archive/2009/goldsmith_a...,
Journalism requires not only a business model, but a culture. At the Center for Future Civic Media, we sometimes take a moment to reflect on the online news experiments begun in the pioneer digital media days in the 1990s, to keep a clear head about how journalism and social networks intersect. But perhaps we shouldn’t use the j-word.
The precipitous slide of journalism from iconic cultural power status to cultural irrelevance during the past decade is stunning. When the Shorenstein Center’s Prof. Tom Patterson told his board last month that the nation’s premiere think tank of, by and for top-notch news media was going to think less about journalism and more about public policy, it was a real wakeup call. The Harvard students just aren’t as interested as they used to be in journalism, he explained.
It’s hard to find anyone these days who promotes the notion of the journalist as public hero. With the exception of George Clooney’s “Goodnight and Good Luck,” the popular culture has written off the MSM as just so many hacks bought to you by corporate imperialists or libertine liberals.