New Roles for Journalists

“It is easier to understand competition than obsolescence” Clay Shirky.

Some of the new roles that journalists will take on have been suggested in other sections, however, in this section, we’ll get down to categorizing and listing what journalists will be doing as the big picture news industry goes through the transformations it faces because of new technologies and new economic realities.

We’ll talk about skills journalists will need, but try to stay general and focus on open source ideas instead of anything proprietary. If you can learn to accomplish a task, without needing a software package that costs hundreds of dollars, you’ll be able to make the transfer to using the high-end equipment if you find yourself in a workplace that has high-end hardware and software.

“Perfect copy-ability” from digital distribution disrupts the profession of journalism which had come to equate process with product,” says Clay Shirky. In a digital media ecosystem, there is a mental leap needed to go from “why publish this” to “why not?” There is no reason to base editorial decisions on scarcity of resources, at least in terms of the newshole, or paper.

Mass amateurization that is a result of a decline in the barriers to entry into journalism and publishing, poses a conundrum for traditional media: What to do when the costs of reproduction and distribution are “free.”

What journalists do will shift according to needs of audience, and competition (other forms of news.)

  • Curator and curation
  • Account, forensic accountant
  • New ways of seeing – data visualizations and interpretation of visual data
  • Differentiators
"I don't report everything that happens here," he said. "There are people here giving the blow-by-blow by Twitter, so I don't think I'm adding anything to what they're saying. I don't have to do a roundup column for my paper. Instead I do, once a day, a big feature off of the tour. This weekend I wrote about the MTV reality programs taking a more documentary angle, that's interesting and encouraging for me. That tends to be my M.O. -- not to scrape up everything with columns of smaller items but to do one good story a day." Aaron Barnhart, the TV critic at the Kansas City Star who also runs the TVBarn blog to Mark Glaser
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