Friday, January 15, 2010
Chaos theory and spaghetti-Brock and Marsh on two alternate futures for journalism
The changing face of journalism can be likened to throwing spaghetti at a wall.
The opening comments of George Brock,head of journalism at City University London as he opened Journalism.co.uk's News Re-wired event yesterday.
According to Brock,his title should in fact be a professor of chaos.
But journalism has always been a profession in flux,he reminded the audience.The idea of professionals reporting on the news has only be around for 150 years whereas journalism can be dated back over 2000 with the travelogues of Herodotus.
Those who sit in the media believing in smooth change are frankly wrong
He posed some questions to the assembled audience.
1.Is there such a thing as news anymore?
2.Is the story over?
3.Is authority no longer with the expert but with the crowd and
4.Can we preserve words as a way of telling the story in this multimedia age.
Opportunities galore for the innovator but the BBC's Kevin Marsh tried to bring the conversation back to basics.
His opening remarks about thanking that he was approaching the end of his journalism career were met by disbelieve in some quarters.
He believed that the mindset that journalists need to be multi skilled only added to the anxiety in the profession.Instead large news organisations should be places for people with specialisms.
Journalism should not forget its traditional skills such as fact checking and balance,citing the Andrew Gilligan 45 minute dossier as a classic example of how in this instantaneous publishing world,we sometimes forget those values.
Journalists should not he added change for the sake of change.They spend far too long talking about the application instead of discussing how it can be used to enhance telling the story.The profession should not be frightened of dropping technology that does not enhance the story