Once upon a time, the jobs in journalism were all at what we would consider traditional outlets — Time, Newsweek, ABC News, the Washington Post, etc. But these days, journalists who’ve had their pick of those publications are flocking to tech companies like Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter to create stories — content that competes, in breadth and scope, with the highest-caliber traditional publications. As print suffers a slow and painful decline, it’s not just the web that’s changing journalism as we know it — it’s tech companies like Tumblr and Facebook who are launching what could be the new new media movement. But what does this mean for the future of traditional journalistic outlets? Can a journalist remain objective when she’s employed by a company? Are journalists’ future homes in places that aren’t primarily about journalism, and should it be?
Interesting question. A thought on this: Tumblr is also creating a community of writers and journalists who wouldn’t need a job with traditional media with a little help on the traffic or monetization side. It’s one thing for Tumblr to hire people. It’s another for Tumblr to enable people to make their blog their full-time gig — so folks like those who went to Tampa and Charlotte to cover the conventions could rely on their work as their main source of income. There’s a lot more opportunity in that market (they already have the content verticals, without even really trying), and Tumblr could do more to tap the community’s creativity so it becomes sustainable creativity, the kind that strengthens the work they’re already doing.
When I started planning the site last summer, my plan was to make it more of a general-interest site. Then in November, when I left Poynter, I pretty much abandoned that plan to compete against my former employer. Finding a new tagline is on my to-do list.Blogger Jim Romenesko • Discussing why his “blog about media and other things I’m interested in” only seems to feature media posts. For a single individual, Romenesko is doing quite well on the blogging front, nearing the level of his former employer, Poynter, all by himself. He’s doing so well that his ad provider, BlogAds, is already talking about raising his rates. Not bad for a guy whose reputation took a public hit (though not without his defenders) a couple of months back.
jacjacattack says: i read your post about the oregon blogger, crystal cox, and i would love to hear your thoughts on the now-official divide between journalist and blogger, since you guys are (to my understanding) a bit of both. do you think that the court case will significantly change anything in the blogosphere? has it impacted how you run (or would run) shortformblog? (great blog by the way; very informative. thank you!) x
» SFB says: It’s early, and the decision only affects bloggers in Oregon at this point — and that’s only according to one judge. But now is a good time to definitely comb through journalist shield laws and figure out which states need updating. Seattle Weekly, which broke the story, talked to Bruce E. H. Johnson, the man who wrote the shield law in Washington, and he said this about the case: ”I believe the shield law would have been applied [in Washington state]. Oregon’s law was probably written before blogging was accounted for.” So, the real question is how to get these laws updated for an era where a “journalist” is anyone with a camera phone and a Twitter account. To answer your question: It’s too soon to say it’s had a chilling effect, but if it goes the wrong way, it certainly could. — Ernie @ SFB