Merciless attack on print nostalgists from Clay Shirky:
The most important fight in journalism today isn’t between short vs. long-form publications, or fast vs. thorough newsrooms, or even incumbents vs. start-ups. The most important fight is between realists and nostalgists.
He builds a compelling argument that the media convering the media downplay the likely demise of print, and that too many people – including those teaching in universities – lie to young journalists about the future:
If you want to cry in your beer about the good old days, go ahead. Just stay the hell away from the kids while you’re reminiscing; pretending that dumb business models might suddenly start working has crossed over from sentimentality to child abuse.
I think he misses one key point: some student journalists come in wanting to work in print. They come pre-equipped with nostalgia, and sometimes find a cozy welcome amongst academic staff who left the coalface of journalism before the digital shift happened in a big way. These sorts of students dislike being given the hard realities of life about the shift to digital – right until they see that all the jobs for young journalists being advertised seek digital skills.
For would-be journalism students interested in those emerging journalism jobs in digital, I lead the social media and community module on the Interactive Journalism MA at City University in London – well worth a look.