Tomorrow’s news: Journalism’s future will look like … ?

As Ed Wood said, future events such as these will concern you in the future. With newspapers shriveling up on our breakfast tables, and TV spewing out tabloid and opinion, what’s going to happen to investigative journalism? Reporter-maven DigiDave says:

What we need right now is 10,000 journalism startups. Of these 9,000 will fail, 1,000 will find ways to sustain themselves for a brief period of time, 98 will find mediocre success and financial security and two will come out as new media equivalents to the New York Times…. I don’t know what that organization will look like or who it will be – but that’s what we need and we face some serious challenges along the way.

Dave’s behind, a venture in “community-funded reporting.” People submit tips and fund pitches, and the resulting stories can be used by anyone under Creative Commons. About 10 projects are on the boards. A pitch on the after-effects of a year-ago oil spill on San Francisco Bay’s beaches has raised $500 and needs $300 more. Sounds like slow going, but it beats whining about the good old days.

[Story tip: Journerdism]

4 thoughts on “Tomorrow’s news: Journalism’s future will look like … ?”

  1. It will be slow going. Crowdfunding or “community funded reporting” won’t make money grow from trees. But all it takes is a few people to step up and say “I’m going to make a difference with this $10 donation.” I have to believe there are other people out there who would prefer to make a difference than just complain..

    Director of Spot.Us

  2. What he said, folks. Dave, thanks for stopping by. I think the first step for a lot of us who feel displaced from the business models of our youth is to lose our sense of entitlement. Which I think you said.

  3. I’ve been checking out Pro Publica, which has grant money behind its reporting, to cite an example of Web-based journalism.

    The trouble with startups is the same problem that has happened in the past when reporters got mad at their publishers and launched a competition paper: making a living while doing this. Real reporting is hard work — I work as a reporter and I was raised in a newspaper household, so I know it all too well. And making money out of writing on the Web is not a science yet.

    However, sitting here thinking about it, it occurs to me that some good sites could be launched by experienced people getting good buyouts from their newspapers, and staffed by young people who are both web savvy and interested in learning real journalism. Might work at that.

    And maybe someone should hit up David Simon (of The Wire) for some capital for a good online newspaper. If you watched Season 5 of The Wire, you know how Simon feels about the current state of publishing.

  4. Nancy, I haven’t seen The Wire, but plenty of people say I should, so it’s on my Netflix list. (Movie theaters … another threatened business model)

    We really haven’t been well served by our establishment media for about a decade, IMO. The cable drumbeat for the war, and the NY Times’ shilling false WMD evidence, are only a couple of examples. Politics-as-entertainment is fun till somebody actually gets killed.

    A lot of really good journalists are getting into PR, advertising, becoming corporate and government spokespeople. Not the kind of change we really need, IMO. But people do need to make a living. I think “citizen journalism” has a role, but there’s really no substitute for an obsessed, hungry Woodward/Bernstein type who is good at finding out things.

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