Monday, November 16, 2009

The Future of Journalism

Every chance an older person gets, they tell us young people to wise up because the future rest in our hands. I can not call myself the spokesperson of my generation, but I think some would agree that after hearing that over and over again, one begins to feel quite overwhelmed, half of the time not knowing why or what to prepare for.
In the world of Journalism backed with surveys, the talk is no different. A study which surveyed young Americans today showed that only nine percent of young adults knew as much as their elders (Mindich, Nieman Reports 2008). According to the study, this age gap has been widening since the 1970’s. One way to reverse this gap, thus securing the future of journalism, Mindich suggests cultivating kids from a young age to be news-hungry citizens. He goes futher to contend that young adults are not dumb, it’s just that we have a thin citizenship (Mindich, Nieman Reports 2008). This means that young adults are only interested in the surface of issues. Beyond that we don’t care.
For some young adults, yes, I feel that this is the case. They just want enough information to stay informed on things that matters most to them. But I feel that a major problem of thin citizenship of young adults is not that they are products of “The Age of Indifference”, but rather young adults are a product of “The Age of System Overload”.
In the 1940’s to the 1970’s young adults knew as much as their elders (Mindich, Nieman Reports 2008). But the young adults of that time didn’t have information actively seeking their attention from different platforms, whether it be traditional new, the plethora of channels we have to choose from, social networking’s, even our cell phones. Today, with the pressure journalists feel to constantly feed us with information, a story is there, and then it’s gone in 30 minutes, depending on how big the issue is. If the focus is solely pushing the content out, then of course you cannot have an engaging conversation.
The future of Journalism is not depending on the medium, because as we have seen from the leaflet pamphlets to the Internet, that is always changing. The future of Journalism is not overloading people with information they don’t have time to process. Because Journalism is a field where the only certain thing is change the future of Journalism rests in connecting readers with others and information so that they may be able participate in engaging conversation (Adee, Nieman Reports 2008). This is why social media such as blogs and networking are important tools to harness power because it gives life to stories that only have a 30 minute self-life as illustrated with the “Paris, Texas” story in Adee’s article. Because it gives stories longer lives, it gives people the opportunity to engage.


  1. I can not recall the exact name of the book but in a class I took last semester we looked at a book about how young people don't read anymore-I think the book was called "The Dumber Generation" or something of the like. I do not think it is fair to say that our generation has it so much harder or so much easier-it's just an exchange of conveniences and disadvantages. It's a different culture-which makes it difficult to compare. We skim, we rush, and we have heightened dangers with nuclear weapons and biological terrorism possibilities. But we also have so much technology that makes the daily grind much easier.As we talked about in class today, change is the only constant. I agree with Crys that the need will still be there despite the medium-pamphlets to Internet has been sustained-but I also think that it's not that certain forms of writing are dying, such as books (that that book alleged we don't read) or even longer news articles. It's that our society is so niche..a different audience and network for each type of media that is being produced.

  2. It's a game of niches and mediums. I agree with both of you. I definitely feel like I'm on system overload every day. That's an interesting point. I keep on hearing about how my generation is going to be the dumb, unfortunate ones who weren't priveledged enough to know better times. I keep hearing the word "decline" over and over again no matter what context it's used in. I agree that we need more engaging conversations in society today. We need to look at issues more closely, we need to study and do our research, dig in and really learn how to both study and demonstrate the meat of the issue sin stead of just trimming the fat on the sides. But often the issue is also picking and choosing what to engage ourselves in, hence the overload. I think it would be a good topic for discussion in class.

  3. I too have felt the "system overload" effect. Sometimes the amount of information is just overwhelming. This is one reason I think it's important that we maintain legacy media as a condenser to help people sort through the vast amount of information and pull out what's most important. I trust the New York Times to give me the most important news of the day. I don't want to sort through every blog and tweet and then decide what I think is most important.

    The second thing I want to touch on is the "dumber generation" term. I think we've all heard rumblings about our generations laziness and lack of engagement for many years now. I can't say I really know how this came to be, but I think blaming the victim comes into play a little bit here. Our generation doesn't have some genetic flaw that has made us predisposed to passivity. Societal changes have taken place to make people born in a certain environment change their habits when it comes to active citizenship. These factors need to be identified and people need to stop blaming young people for shortcomings well beyond their control.