Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Future of Journalism

Recently in my Backpack Journalism class here at Brigham Young University, we read the introduction from our class text book, Journalism Next by Mark Briggs. What we read I actually found really interesting as it briefly talked about the future of journalism. There are a lot of points that he brought up in this introduction and I want to respond to just a few of them.

First off, he opens with a quote by William Gibson from 1993: "The future is already here. It's just not very evenly distributed." I'm not quite sure what I think about that quote. I'm not sure we can exactly say that the future is already here. The future is in the future. We don't know what the future holds. Yes, it's true that in the last ten or so years that journalism has completely changed, and based on those changes we can make a prediction as to where journalism is going. However, we can't say for sure that this is the future. Heck, ten years ago it was a completely different field, so who knows what's going to happen in the next ten years.

That said, I am being a bit nit-picky with that statement. Whether or not the future is now or the future is in the future could be debated. What can't be debated is the fact that journalism has changed drastically in the last couple decades. For the longest time, newspapers was the way that news spread. With radio and TV, we started having news broadcasts as well, but newspapers were still a big thing. The internet changed things. People stopped reading physical newspapers and started reading things on the internet. Now with social media, that has changed even more.

So then the question we can ask is this. Is journalism dying? No. And that's what thing that Briggs brings up in this intro that I agree with. The future of journalism is very bright. It's just very different. The old school ways of journalism are what's dying and those who aren't willing and able to make the adjustments are those who will suffer. Personally, I think the digital age of journalism is much brighter and more effective in getting the honest truth out there. So no, journalism is not dead. It's not dying. In fact, I would say that it is growing and blossoming into something that's much better than it was before.

This brings me to the next point in this introduction. Briggs says that his last three jobs he's had did not exist when he was in college. Thus students have to prepare for jobs that don't exist. And professors have to teach and prepare their students for jobs that don't exist. This is definitely very true. How do you prepare like this? The overall principle is that you have to be flexible. There's a lot of people that are stuck in their ways. This is understandable. None of us really like change. But the cold hard fact is change exists. It will always exist. The way we will succeed is if we are willing to change as well. Sure there are times when it is good to hold our ground. This is especially true on a moral standpoint. If the morals of the world are degrading, don't let your personal morals degrade as well. But yet there are a lot of good changes out there that we need to be willing to accept. Some give change a negative connotation and this is a faulty perspective. Change can be good and we need to be willing to change.

The final point I want to talk about is that the future is in the hands of the rising generation. Briggs, in speaking to an audience of up and coming journalists, says, "Journalism needs you. It needs someone who can bring a fresh approach without the baggage that burdened earlier generations." I really like this quote. Some might be afraid to go into journalism because it seems like it is a dying breed, but it's not. The people who are currently in journalism are the people that went through this online and social media transition. The younger generation that is much more used to social media and the internet can give a lot to journalism. They can make it better.

In conclusion, I do think that the future of journalism is a bright one. It's been much of the same for quite a long period of time, but now it has changed drastically in just a short period of time and I think that it will continue to change drastically as time goes on. What does the future of journalism bring? I don't know. Is what we are experiencing right now the future of journalism. I don't know. What I do know is that I like what I see. And I am excited for it.

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