The Dangers of Journalistic Myopia

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

I’m busy pulling together my normal links for the day, but this post from Fleet Street Blues[Link now dead] in the wake of last week’s conferences really needs a response:

> It’s all very well talking about building a social media strategy and the growing need for entrepreneurial journalism, but there are [lots of journalists]( out there – good, hard news journalists with skills we as a profession don’t want to lose – who are being left behind. So, a plea to those who were there: please don’t run before the rest of us can walk. 

And that’s all very sweet and lovely – but it’s very, very dangerous. Because if those people who are pushing at the edges of online journalism – the spaghetti throwers, as George Brock put it – slow down and wait for the rest of the industry to catch up, we might as well just lie down in a grave and, as a profession, die now.

This is myopia. This is only seeing the traditional publishing ecosystem, and not all the new things that are competing for our audience’s time and interest (and our advertisers’ cash). It’s not just the social media journalists and traditional journalists in this equation. It’s the untold thousands, maybe millions, of people who are using these tools to publish and consume materials. We’re in a huge battle for attention, and if we’re not in the places where people find interesting content, if we don’t understand how people are consuming content in this new publishing environment, and creating news and journalism generally in ways that match that demand, we’re history.

Sorry, Fleet Street Blues, but we can’t wait.

Update: Psmith, Journalist takes on another post in similar vein

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.