I’m inclined to believe that media veterans, particularly those in the newspaper industry, need to reach out to the young upstarts they hate so much.
Two reasons lead me to this conclusion:
1) Blogging — It is described as a phenomenon and a fad by some. For most, it is as much despised as it is confused, generally by people born before the ’70s. This general confusion about the interactivity of blogging and the notoriety perceived by the masses (both in the news industry and out) is hindering the process of the information revolution.
2) Specialization is not only overrated, it’s dead — Maybe I’m seeing this as anecdotal, maybe I’m not. But I hear the rumblings from other young Web editors just as much I have the complaints myself. There are too many people in newsrooms that only want to do one thing. Whether that be write, edit or lay out pages, the fact that one person does one thing is an incredible waste of efficiency. In a perfect world, reporters would write, edit another reporter’s story, post it to the Web, and help patch up the paper. But it wouldn’t stop there. The same reporter would shoot and edit their own video to go along with their story, take pictures in between time and follow up with a blog that empties their notebook and memory card. (I’d love to see some video outtakes of local interviews. Why don’t more people do that? Why don’t I do that?) In my mind, it would be the one package a day requirement, creating a robust information destination online and in print.
The thing is, young journalists are willing to do it all. For one reason or another, all the young journos want jobs and they realize the fastest way to be able to get a job is by being willing to do anything and everything that is asked of them. Old heads seem to want to just bite their tongues and close their ears when it comes time for them to try something out of their comfort zone. That is completely out of touch with what is occurring around the media industry.
Now, more than ever, veteran journalists should be looking to expand their skills and their territorial rights to their jobs by proving that if newspapers need to do more with less, those same veterans can be included in the group of less. Maybe they should ask those whippersnappers how they’re getting so much done in their 8-hour shift?
Maybe they shouldn’t be afraid of the possibility of greatness.
I know I’m not.