Elephant Diaries: “between systems”

One of the occupational hazards of being a journalist (at least the way I do it) is an embarassing lack of original ideas. My job is to entertain, understand, sort and pass judgment on the ideas of others, then explain the ones that meet some sort of preliminary test of usefulness and/or relevance. Ideas of my own is not a habit of mind I have developed over the years.

That doesn’t mean there are not journalists who can also be innovators. But I am not one of them. I had a conversation the other day with a friend, a good writer and smart contributor to the infosphere who is a non-journalist trying to figure out where he might fit into the new ecosystem, and I realized I had pretty much nothing to say beyond what won’t work, which is not a terribly helpful approach to the problem.

This is a long introduction to Jay Rosen doing what I described above as journalism, which is to collect a lot of really smart and really inconclusive writing done by others over the last month about the future of my industry:

I don’t know what will replace the newspaper journalism we have relied on. It’s a terrible loss for the public when people who bought the public service dream lose their jobs providing that service, and realizing that dream. I do not look forward to explaining to my students the contractions in the job market and why they’re likely to continue for the near term. It feels grim to have to say: “There is no business model in news right now. We’re between systems.”


  1. The best journalists are synthesizers, seeing and writing about connections between seemingly unconnected things that provide a good picture and often show the path out of the woods. You are pretty good at that

    Despair not.

Comments are closed.