Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Changing ... for the Worse?

A Pew survey of online journalists includes this:
Journalists who work online are more optimistic about the future of their profession than are news people tied to more traditional media platforms, but at best their optimism is an uneasy one, according to new survey of members of the Online News Association produced by the Association and the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

These online news people also believe that the internet is changing the fundamental values of journalism -- and more often than not for the worse.

Damned depressing when even the online journalists are uneasy about the quality of online journalism. The chief culprit is perceived declining accuracy, due in part to the need to quickly post items in a 24-hour news cycle. Now a caveat ... most of these people work in "legacy" online sites, meaning they're tied to mainstream, previously print, news organizations. Not sure you'd get the same results from people who have only worked online and who work for only-online news sites.

And there's positive news. Loosening standards, yes, but also more voices being heard. That's a good thing, assuming the voices make sense.

As to what people know, much of our future knowledge depends on a these serious news sites finding a way to make a buck so we can afford to have journalists on the streets, keeping an eye on our major institutions. TV ain't gonna do it, not by a long shot. The local TV is about bleeding and leading, the cable guys about partisan shoutfests, and the major alphabet soup guys (ABC, CBS) are about, well, not sure what the hell they're about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The standards need not be "loose" even if old-school journalists are not in charge. Newsroom cuts have been so deep for so long that slap-dash is the norm in plenty of "regular" newsrooms.
Still, the typo and gaffe meter is really high online. People who wondered what the desk editors did until midnight no longer wonder. They fixed things - lots and lots of things. Spellings, street names, tenses, photo IDs and many more items, all creeping into cyberspace, wrong.
So if Google can figure out what you are searching for even if you don't know the name of it - why isn't there a better content screen of some kind. How hard would that be?
I remain hopeful that this will happen as all news shifts online, which is done by 2015.