NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen gave a guest lecture at Colorado State University on Monday afternoon during capstone session. Most of it was refresher because he was speaking to aspiring journalists who haven’t ventured into the professional realm yet; however, there were some good points he brought up, especially when speaking to why the news industry struggles. Advertising is a bad business, he said (arguably the worst to be in), so revenues continue to drop, but in addition, it’s because the news media is always so far behind on the latest tech trends.
Digital journalism unofficially turns 20 this year (The New York Times went online in 1996). So by using 1996 as an unofficial anniversary, that means digital journalism was already lagging three years behind the boom of the World Wide Web. Then when we finally started to get a grasp on HTML and all of the basics, Web 2.0 comes and makes everything simpler. So now we have to learn even more, and when we’re finally starting to utilize Web 2.0 as an instant-publishing tool, Facebook launches. Now we’re social experts, but the mobile boom is the new trend we’re trying to conquer. What’s next?
(Rosen only mentioned 1996/social/mobile, but the problem goes back beyond NYT launching its digital platform.)
I’m glad our newsroom at the Coloradoan is starting to tackle VR (see a collection of 360-degree videos I’ve done here) so we can at least try to stay on top of what appears could be the next big thing. That being said, one paper — or one chain (Gannett) for that matter — isn’t enough to “save” our industry from its spiral. It has to be a global initiative, finding ways to sell that content (ads or subscriptions); otherwise, we can look forward to reading more layoff posts on Romenesko.
Below are my bullet-point notes from Monday’s lecture.