General Media / innovation

Post-Industrial Journalism: New Tow Center report

This is going to be some required reading for me after the semester is over. The Tow Center for Digital Journalism released a report yesterday, Post-Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present, by C.W. Anderson, Emily Bell and Clay Shirky.

This is from the introduction:

This essay is part survey and part manifesto, one that concerns itself with the practice of journalism and the practices of journalists in the United States. It is not, however, about ‘the future of the news industry,’ both because much of that future is already here and because there is no such thing as the news industry anymore.

There used to be one, held together by the usual things that hold an industry together: similarity of methods among a relatively small and coherent group of businesses, and an inability for anyone outside that group to produce a competitive product. Those conditions no longer hold true.

If you wanted to sum up the past decade of the news ecosystem in a single phrase, it might be this: Everybody suddenly got a lot more freedom. The newsmakers, the advertisers, the startups, and, especially, the people formerly known as the audience have all been given new freedom to communicate, narrowly and broadly, outside the old strictures of the broadcast and publishing models. The past 15 years have seen an explosion of new tools and techniques, and, more importantly, new assumptions and expectations, and these changes have wrecked the old clarity.

Best of all, it’s freely available in PDF and E-Pub formats.

One interesting side-note for me is the conclusion title: Tectonic Shifts. I recently spoke at the University of Tampa, and the title of the talk was “Digital Tectonics: How the Internet has shifted the informational topography and the role of journalists and media professionals in charting new courses through the eruption of information.”