After posting my thoughts on Chris Hughes and The New Republic the other day, I came across this post by Jay Rosen, proprietor of the blog PressThink and a journalism professor at NYU, that considers the virtues of the old-media mindset alongside its shortcomings. Rosen’s post strikes me as an elegant formulation of the perspective one hopes Hughes might bring to TNR. Check it out–it’s a bracing summary of how publishers can innovate while remaining true to the values that make their industry vital to democracy. It’s frank about the industry’s failings but also hopeful, not least because it recognizes the virtues of old and new simultaneously, without trying to slot them into a neat pro-and-con relationship with one another. Here’s an excerpt:
Listening to demand is smart journalism, so is giving people what they have no way to demand because they don’t know about it yet. If you are good at one, the other goes better. “Do what you do best and link to the rest” isn’t a slogan, it’s your only hope for comprehensive coverage. Figuring out how to make things happen at lower cost is intrinsic to quality journalism today. Pack journalism and duplicative coverage mock your claims of crisis. In the aggregate, the users know more than you do about most things. They are in many more places than you can be. They also help distribute your stuff. Therefore talking with them is basic to your job. Google isn’t the source of your troubles; it sends you traffic. Digitally, the original sin wasn’t failing to charge when the first news sites came online; it was re-purposing the old platform’s material.