Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Journalism needs pros, amateurs, devout agnostics

Ellen Hume, one of my favorite authors and thinkers on media-future issues for almost 15 years, is leaving the Center for Future Civic Media at MIT.

Coincidentally, there's a conference this week at MIT on "The future of news and civic media," and Hume's parting message is full of food for thought: The future of news?. A veteran of both the Wall Street Journal and PBS, Hume says major news organizations are still needed, even while many of today's fine journalists have never set foot inside any mainstream media organization.

  • "Joshua Micah Marshall is I.F. Stone2.0 (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com)"

  • "Twitter is dazzling, as a headline service and a conversation. But I need more than Twitter, YouTube and my Facebook social network to understand this complicated world."

  • "My bottom line has always been: how can people understand their real choices for shaping their own lives and communities? How can the flow of news actually promote personal and community agency? This is why the future of journalism and civic media are important to me."

  • "If the best and brightest young folks don’t value agnostic, professional journalism, even a dozen new business models won’t work for long."

  • "I am waiting for a public relations campaign to argue the virtues of Kovach and Rosenstiel-style journalism (http://www.journalism.org/node/71), combined with a comprehensive news literacy curriculum at all levels, in all countries, that invites people to produce, consume and pay for public service news."

  • "Fair, important, earth-shaking journalism is actually hard to do. It’s harder than simply repeating what anyone tells you, or selecting the facts that support your own biases. That is what all the fuss is about as newspapers around the country collapse and die."

Read the whole thing.

More about Ellen Hume.

More about the Future of news & civic media conference at MIT.